Last year was supposed to have been a big one for Los Angeles-based singer-song writer Liz Phair, who shook up the indie rock world almost 30 years ago with her debut Exile in Guyville. In 2020 she was scheduled to release Soberish, her first new album in 10 years, and embark on a summer tour with Alanis Morissette and Garbage. The pandemic suspended those plans. The pause, though, gave Phair time to update the record.
She remembers thinking, “Well, if it’s going to come out a year from now, we have to make it for then. Here’s the things that I think are going to be in place: Trump will have lost, we’re also going to be coming out of the pandemic at that exact moment. We want the comfort of sounds of the past, but we want the energy of something brand new—because we’re all gonna be brand new again.”
Soberish finally came out on June 4 via Chrysalis Records. It feels like a summation of Phair’s career, drawing from the pioneering indie rock of Exile in Guyville and its follow-up Whip-Smart; the moments of reflection on Whitechoc olatespaceegg; the mainstream pop-rock of Liz Phair and Somebody’s Miracle; and the sonic experimentation of her last album Funstyle. Phair says any resemblance to her back catalog was unintended but not unwelcome. “It’s kind of cool that that just snuck out through my unconscious,” she says, “I like that there’s some DNA in there from older works.”
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