Liz Phair's debut album celebrates 25 years.
This week's Album of the Week is a hugely respected indie record by the indomitable Liz Phair. Her debut album 'Exile in Guyville' was released on this day (June 22nd) in 1993, and became Matador Records' most successful record at that time. It's still a huge influence on more contemporary alt rock artists.
Liz Phair - Exile In Guyville
Considered by many to be a groundbreaking piece of alternative rock music, and indeed one of the greatest albums of all time, 'Exile in Guyville' was a raw piece of prolonged teenage angst by a 26-year-old guitarist from Chicago. Co-produced by Brad Wood - who also worked on Placebo's debut album - it raised Matador's profile significantly with the endless critical acclaim it would go on to receive.
Liz Phair was initially sending out demos on cassette tapes under the name Girly Sound before eventually getting signed. While it wasn't the smoothest of beginnings, the album eventually turned out some simple, lo-fi riffs with honest lyrics full of sex and anger with songs like 'Never Said', 'F**k and Run', 'Flower' and 'Stratford-on-Guy'.
The album artwork was another iconic facet of the record; after discarding a few ideas, Liz's team eventually settle on a black and white topless shot of her in a photo booth shot by Nash Kato of Urge Overkill.
Interestingly, the term 'Guyville' actually came from the song 'Goodbye To Guyville' from Urge Overkill's 1992 EP 'Stull'. Meanwhile, the rest of the album title pays tribute to the Rolling Stones' 1972 record 'Exile on Main St.', with Phair having since explained that her album is a song-by-song response to the Stones album.
While the commercial success of 'Exile in Guyville' wasn't necessarily outstanding, it certainly became Matador's most successful release at that point, and the critical acclaim more than makes up for the fact that it's sold less than 500,000 copies and only reached 196 in the US charts when it was released.
In 2008, a 15th anniversary edition of the album dropped featuring previously unreleased songs 'Ant in Alaska', 'Say You', and guitar instrumental 'Standing'. Last month, a 25th anniversary re-issue came out featuring CD and vinyl pressings of her Girly Sound demos as well as cassette replicas.