28 January 2022

28 January 2022 - Liz Phair - Why Can't I?

For my final entry in WGP:Revisited Week, I decided not to revisit one of my posts, but one of Scott's.  Why did I choose this song?  Two reasons.

1)  Scott did a short post about it and I thought it deserved a better write-up
2)  I was pretty disrespectful of it in the comments.

When this song was released in 2003, it was widely touted as a sellout - a label that Phair EMBRACED.  She wanted a hit.  And, with this song hitting #32 on the Billboard Hot 100, she got a hit.  But the reason she wanted a hit was not your typical reason, which she explained to Vice on the occasion of the 25th anniversary reissue of her debut Exile in Guyville:
"Despite all the horrible things people were saying—I didn’t even think they were horrible, I honestly thought I was doing therapy. I would do interview after interview and I’d try to talk them down off the ledge because they were so mad. I just had to calibrate, explaining that I was on a major label, that’s where I got left, and I had to sink or swim and so I swam. In actuality, promoting that record exposed me to far bigger audiences and I learned how to get my sea legs on stage and learned how to do a ton of things. Those were heavy times but that was really fun, to be part of a band, and that camaraderie, and our tours were so great. I just experienced so much that I would never, ever give back. So I don’t have regrets."
In essence, this "sellout" caused a spike in sales of her three previous albums, which means more people were exposed to her pre-"sellout" music.  

The song itself is one I have gained an appreciation for in my old age.  It is a sweet love song that isn't afraid to use the word "fuck".  This version of the video does censor that.

Here she is, performing a completely acoustic version of the song.  Sure, it sounds less like a sellout on acoustic guitar.  She did shy away from the F bomb in this version.


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