Liz Phair


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Juvenilia Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Essentially, Juvenilia is the single for "Jealousy," one of the more pop-oriented tracks on Liz Phair's second album, Whip-Smart. In order to make the single more enticing for the singer/songwriter's fans, five tracks from her legendary Girlysound tapes were included, marking the first official release of this material. Arriving well after the initial media onslaught of Phair's debut, Exile in Guyville -- which included numerous references to the home-recorded tapes -- the Girlysound sessions might sound a bit disappointing because they offer no new insights into Phair's songwriting. If anything, the selected songs accentuate her tendency to be cloying and cute. Not only do the repeated "f*cks" begin to sound like a gimmick, she appropriates Iggy Pop's "Funtime" on "South Dakota" for no apparent reason than to demonstrate her cleverness. Before the Girlysound songs, Phair runs through a limp version of the Vapors' new wave classic "Turning Japanese" with Material Issue and hands in "Animal Girl," an unremarkable new piano ballad.

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