Liz Phair

Do not be fooled by the lyric "Give me your hot white cum." This isn't the edgy, clever Liz Phair of Exile in Guyville but rather a bland, barely recognizable avatar. And the song, abbreviated "H.W.C." encapsulates everything that's wrong with this album: trite lyrics and empty stabs at shock value set to predictable pop melodies. With her major-label debut, Phair gets help from Avril Lavigne's production team and unveils a transformation from talented indie rocker into watered-down, aspiring pop sensation. Phair just wants to sell some records.

"Extraordinary," the album opener, offers brief cause for optimism, as Phair interrupts the hair-metal guitar intro with a catchy melody showcasing her impressive vocal range. But the lyrics quickly descend into an apparent plea to fans to accept the new Liz: "I am extraordinary/ If you'd ever get to know me." And those lines are utter gems compared to the embarrassingly bad "Love/Hate Transmission," in which Phair spouts, "It's drugs/It's hunger/It's race, sex, and government/Any way you look at it/You're part of it/You know it." Keep in mind that she's 36.

In fact, Phair seems fixated on her age, perhaps because her puzzling bid for superstardom comes so far into a respectable career. On "Rock Me," one of several songs celebrating sex with younger men, Phair delivers cringe-inducing lines like "I want to play Xbox on your floor" and "Your record collection don't exist/You don't even know who Liz Phair is."

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