Liz Phair Releases A New Album Titled ‘Funstyle’


Liz Phair, who some of you may remember set the indie music scene in the 1990’s aflame with her stunning debut album Exile in Guyville and follow-up albums Whip Smart and Whitechocolatespacegg, has come out of nowhere to release a brand new album titled Funstyle on her official website Now, before you Phair fans get all excited you have to know that the album sounds to me more like a fun, F.U. to the record label she appears to be pissed off at rather than an serious new album of material. I got to see Liz on tour back in 2008 as she promoted the re-release of her debut album (which was a fantastic tour, btw) and shortly after she finished that tour she revealed that she had signed to Dave Matthews’s ATO Records label for her next album. Something must’ve went amiss from that time until now because this new “album” is a silly, angry, kind of ridiculous collection of songs:

This Funstyle album costs $5.99 to download at her site and features 11 tracks … I would say only 4 of them are actual serious songs (You Should Know Me, Miss September, Oh Bangladesh and And He Slayed Her). The rest are trippy, weird, sonic experimental things that I believe are meant to be taken tongue in cheek. For the first time in her musical career, Liz Phair raps … and not very well. If you are intrigued, you can listen to the song Bollywood (in which she busts a rhyme) after the jump …

Now I am a HUGE Liz Phair fan, I have been ever since Exile … all thru all the criticism she received after the release of her self-titled album Liz Phair. That album was such a huge departure from her indie days that she was skewered by her critics for selling out to make a pop record. Some of the ire she playfully spits on this album seems directed to those critics as well as the shadowy record executive bosses (possibly at Capitol Records, her former label) who she keeps talking/referring to thruout the album. As a frivolous, F.U. album it’s kinda fun and I can totally dig it (I’m trying to enjoy it as an “experimental album”). My hope is that a real album will be released soon … possibly on ATO Records. I would hate for this album to be the last release of her musical career. It’s a weird collection of silliness … fine for a joke or cathartic purposes but not the way to end a recording career. I’m not sure if there are any Liz Phair fans out there but if so, you gotta tell me what you think of this new album.


  • S

    4 joke tracks. 3 experimental tracks. 4 traditional rock songs. Honestly, maybe 2 or 3 of these are actually listenable. That’s not quite worth the $6.00 she’s charging. So all I can say is it’s a damn shame that she’s charging her fans for this pubilc F.U. to the music industry. My hope is that she’s using this money to fund a future, legitimate album of good music. But judging by the more serious tracks on Funstyle, I’m not holding out hope. “Bang! Bang!” and “Satisfied” are OK… but nothing to crow about.

  • clo

    i’m a HUGE liz phan (girlysounds/guyville & even her pop stuff), many times her (small) shows sell out in hours — i’m quite embarrassed by the bollywood song – gulp – its horrible….and thats coming from a huge fan. i’m spending the $6 right now…anything liz is better than no liz (usually) as far as i’m concerned!

    • @clo – I’ve listened to the whole album twice now and I think I get it. There are some great songs very minimally produced but a lot of silly nonsense songs where she is clearly working stuff out catharticly. I’m glad I bought it and am happy to support her experimentation but I do hope she releases a proper album soon, it would make this album make sense in context. If you don’t mind, would you post your thoughts on the album after a couple of listens? I’m dying to hear what other fans think after they take it all in.

  • Drake

    I don’t hate it. I think it is the most interesting thing she has put out in years.
    The joke songs are strong because she is writing and she sounds like she once again doesn’t care about what anyone thinks. the more “serious” songs, perhaps they were ATO rejects, from when she was on Dave Matthews label. I recall her saying she was given a budget and then told to go off and be creative, and she was working on an album full of layers. I assume songs like “And He Slayed Her” (a rip on Capitol Records CEO “Andy Slater”, for sure), You Should Know Me, Miss September were all songs rejected by ATO.
    So she wrote songs like Smoke, Bollywood, Beat is Up, and the not so subtle “U Hate It” as a retort, and decide to release the album. I think I get it. I think. but it is all speculation. is it bad? No. It’s interesting. inspired stuff.
    But I think many of her fans have wished for a long time Liz would just quit messing with uber-producers and record companies and just release the album she wants to make. Is this it? is this THAT album? unfiltered Liz…sure. I guess it is.
    but…really? Liz (i assume) is without a label and (i assume) has some artistic control about what she puts out and decides to pull a Juliana Hatfield (who is so smart) and release a record for her fans through her website for a reasonable 6 dollars…and this is the album?
    It would have been a bigger fuck-you to the industry if it was free,but I too am happy to support her experimentation, and yes I would buy a hard copy too. I would. that being said, I can’t help but think it does sound a bit thrown together, a few scraps she had left over from ATO sessions maybe, and the rest is angry venting. i don’t consider this a PROPER album, but it could be. the production is demo-ish at times.
    Interesting. Some of the songs are great. Bang Bang, and I like Bollywood. It’s funny. but a real liz album? I have no idea.

  • Johnny_Feelgood

    Unfortunately, I do hate it.

    I liked all her other albums, and have been looking forward to a new release – but this is disastrous. It’s embarrassing and all the Phair fans I know are in agreement. This should never have seen the light of day – and I’d be gutted if this was the last ever Phair release.

  • Travis

    Lots more Liz fans than you think. I think spend a little more time. If you dont get this, you never got Liz. It is brilliant shit.

  • Rob

    At the risk of sounding like Sarah Palin, I’m sad that the media is so quick to judge stuff that is different than we want to expect (btw I hate sarah palin). I’m sadder that everyone else is so quick to jump on the bandwagon in shitting on Liz’s new album. I listened to the Bollywood song and honestly I don’t understand how anyone could think it is bad in comparison to the other rap junk that has been released over the last few years. More interesting to me is that it’s not even bad, Liz comes off to me as an artist and with her I don’t know if you’re ever going to love everything she does. Whitechocolatespaceegg was so cool because it was raw and you felt her and all of the minimalistic recording equipment she used. With the recent more studio-y stuff that kinda got lost and this honestly feels back to her original roots in that I feel her again. So I say to all of yall, quit being such bandwagon assholes and take it or leave it. Stomping on someone’s art is just plain mean and unnecessary.