Liz Phair (album)

Liz Phair is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Liz Phair, released June 24, 2003 on Capitol Records. "Why Can't I?" and "Extraordinary" were released as singles. Phair began production on the album with Michael Penn. Liz Phair debuted at #27 on the Billboard 200.[2] As of July 2010, the album had sold 433,000 copies.[3]

Liz Phair
Liz Phair - Liz Phair.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 24, 2003
CDP 7243 5 22084 0 1
Liz Phair chronology

Liz Phair
Singles from Liz Phair
  1. "Why Can't I?"
    Released: May 2003
  2. "Extraordinary"
    Released: January 2004


Initially, Phair worked on tracks for the album with songwriter Michael Penn as the producer, but the finished album received a lukewarm reception from Capitol. Having already exhausted the recording budget, label president Andy Slater offered Phair more money to record if she agreed to work on possible singles with the production team the Matrix, who had worked with singers such as Avril Lavigne, Britney Spears, and Hilary Duff. Phair collaborated with the Matrix on "Why Can't I?", "Extraordinary", "Favorite", and "Rock Me".[citation needed]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [5]
Blender     [6]
Christgau's Consumer GuideA[7]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[8]
The Guardian     [9]
Los Angeles Times    [10]
Mojo     [11]
Rolling Stone     [12]

Liz Phair was met with mixed reviews from critics. At Metacritic, a review aggregator site, the album holds a score of 40 out of 100.[4] Many decried Phair for "selling out", and she became a "piñata for critics", according to The New York Times.[14] The newspaper's Meghan O'Rourke titled her review of the album "Liz Phair's Exile in Avril-ville", and complained that Phair "gushes like a teenager", having "committed an embarrassing form of career suicide."[15] Matt LeMay from Pitchfork rated the album a 0.0 out of 10, stating, "it's sad that an artist as groundbreaking as Phair would be reduced to cheap publicity stunts and hyper-commercialized teen-pop."[1]

Others were more enthusiastic about the record. Reviewing for Entertainment Weekly, Chris Willman described it as "an honestly fun summer disc," noting "Little Digger" and "Rock Me" as highlights.[8] Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani also described the album positively, calling Phair "frank and funny" singling out "It's Sweet," "My Bionic Eyes," and "Rock Me" as noteworthy tracks.[16] Robert Christgau wrote in The Village Voice that it included "no bad songs" while crediting Phair for "successfully fusing the personal and the universal, challenging lowest-common-denominator values even as it fellates them".[7] Years later, when asked about the criticism it had received from reviewers such as LeMay, Christgau said:

Back then [Pitchfork] was still a snotty boys club open to many 'critics' ... Too many amateur wise-asses and self-appointed aesthetes throwing their weight around ... But to return to Liz Phair, it got killed in the indie press for two things: the indie sin of hiring name producers, which my review goes into in some detail, and explicit sexuality. Good sex songs are hard to write, but I love them when they happen; 'Favorite' and 'HWC' stand out. But the stone classic here is 'Little Digger,' in which her young son comes into the bedroom she's sharing with a guy not his dad. A complete killer, clearly over LeMay's head.[17]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Liz Phair, unless otherwise noted.

  • Phair
  • Christy
  • Edwards
  • Spock
2."Red Light Fever"4:52
3."Why Can't I?"
  • Phair
  • Christy
  • Edwards
  • Spock
4."It's Sweet" 2:55
5."Rock Me"
  • Phair
  • Christy
  • Edwards
  • Spock
6."Take a Look" 3:29
7."Little Digger" 3:36
8."Firewalker" 4:29
  • Phair
  • Christy
  • Edwards
  • Spock
10."Love/Hate" 3:43
11."H.W.C." (Omitted on the album's clean version) 2:56
12."My Bionic Eyes" 3:52
13."Friend of Mine" 3:44
14."Good Love Never Dies" 3:00
Total length:50:14



  • Producers: The Matrix, Michael Penn, R. Walt Vincent
  • Engineers: Doug Boehm, Ryan Freeland, The Matrix, Michael Penn, R. Walt Vincent, Howard Willing
  • Assistant engineer: Kevin Meeker
  • Mixing: Serban Ghenea, Tom Lord-Alge
  • Mastering: Ted Jensen, Eddy Schreyer
  • Assistant: Mike Glines, Andrew Nast
  • Arranger: The Matrix
  • Drum recordings: Krish Sharma
  • Design: Eric Roinestad
  • Art direction: Eric Roinestad
  • Photography: Phil Poynter


Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (2003) Position
US Billboard 200 27
US Album Sales (Billboard)[18] 27
US Internet Albums (Billboard)[18] 5


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[19] Gold 500,000 

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b c LeMay, Matt (June 24, 2003). "Liz Phair: Liz Phair". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  2. ^ "Liz Phair - Liz Phair". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  3. ^ "Ask Billboard: Kylie 'Fever'". Billboard. 2010-07-16. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  4. ^ a b "Reviews for Liz Phair by Liz Phair". Metacritic. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  5. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Liz Phair – Liz Phair". AllMusic. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  6. ^ Powers, Ann (June–July 2003). "Liz Phair: Liz Phair". Blender (17): 146. Archived from the original on April 17, 2004. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Liz Phair: Liz Phair". Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  8. ^ a b Willman, Chris (June 27, 2003). "Liz Phair". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 21, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  9. ^ Sweeting, Adam (October 10, 2003). "Liz Phair, Liz Phair". The Guardian. London. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  10. ^ Hilburn, Robert (June 29, 2003). "No breakthrough this time around". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  11. ^ "Liz Phair: Liz Phair". Mojo (118): 104. September 2003.
  12. ^ Walters, Barry (June 18, 2003). "Liz Phair". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  13. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (July 2003). "Liz Phair: Liz Phair". Spin. 19 (7): 107. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  14. ^ Carr, David (August 2, 2005). "The Independence of Liz Phair". The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  15. ^ O'Rourke, Meghan (June 22, 2003). "Liz Phair's Exile in Avril-ville". The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  16. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (June 18, 2003). "Liz Phair: Liz Phair". Slant Magazine. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 23, 2018). "Xgau Sez". Archived from the original on July 26, 2018. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  18. ^ a b[0]=ts_chart_artistname%3ALiz%20Phair&f[1]=ss_chart_search_title%3A%2ALiz%20Phair%2A&f[2]=tm_imprintlabel%3A%2ACapitol%2A&f[3]=itm_field_chart_id%3A-&f[4]=ss_bb_type%3Achart_item&label=Capitol&title=Liz%20Phair&type=1&solrsort=ds_peakdate%3Aasc
  19. ^ "American album certifications – Liz Phair – Liz Phair". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit