Although Exile in Guyville was celebrated as one of the year's top records by Spin and the New York Times, it was also, to some, an abomination: a mockery of the Rolling Stones' most revered record and a rare glimpse into the psyche of a shrewd, independent, strong young woman. For these crimes, Liz Phair was run out of her hometown of Chicago, enduring a flame war perpetrated by writers who accused her of being boring, inauthentic, and even a poor musician.
With Exile in Guyville, Phair spoke for all the girls who loved the world of indie rock but felt deeply unwelcome there. Like all great works of art, Exile was a harbinger of the shape of things to come: Phair may have undermined the male ego, but she also unleashed a new female one. For the sake of all the female artists who have benefited from her work-from Sleater-Kinney to Lana Del Rey and back again-it's high time we go back to Guyville.
Gina Arnold is the author of Route 666: On the Road to Nirvana and Kiss This: Punk in the Present Tense. She has written for Spin, Rolling Stone, and the Village Voice. Currently, she is finishing up her PhD at Stanford University.
Introduction: Written in my Seoul Chapter 1: Guvyille as Ghostworld Chapter 2: Sonic Pleasure and Narrative rock criticism Chapter 3: My Mixed Feelings Chapter 4: Exile State of Mind Works Cited