Cinco De Mayo
Dogs of L.A.
Liz Phair’s one-woman insurgency campaign against pop conventions continued on her sophomore release, 1994’s Whip-Smart. Great things were expected of her after the prickly brilliance of her debut Exile In Guyville, and if Whip-Smart isn’t a startling advance over her first album, it's definitely a convincing reaffirmation of Phair’s strengths as a singer/songwriter. The lo-fi funkiness of Exile is polished up a bit here, with an emphasis on propulsive guitar/drum grooves and melodic effusions. As before, Phair demonstrates her ability to simultaneously subvert and revel in pop clichés. Layers of irony can’t disguise the infectious fun in tracks like “Cinco de Mayo,” ”Go West,” and “Support System,” and “Supernova” takes its celebration of hot sex to absurd heights. Amidst these semi-satiric ditties are disquieting, paranoia-tinged musings like “Shane” and “Crater Lake.” More hopeful is the radiant title track, filled with motherly wisdom. Phair’s songs keep you off-balance and wondering about her intentions — what’s unquestionably genuine is her wit and tunefulness as a writer.