Wednesday, March 13, 2013

#431: Liz Phair-Supernova (Top 500 Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)

#431
(Top Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)
Song: "Supernova"
Artist: Liz Phair
Release Date: July, 1994
From the Album: Whip-Smart (1994)


Quick Take: Liz Phair's debut, Exile in Guyville, may have landed her on the cover of Rolling Stone, but that was due more to critical adulation and the singer/songwriter's good looks than to commercial success. When Phair's second album, Whip-Smart, was released in 1994, the pressure was on to live up to her hype, which may be why "Supernova" sounds for all the world like Phair's attempt to produce a hit single. But despite her media-friendly persona, Phair's songwriting strengths lie in ambiguity and messy emotions; even the notorious "Fuck and Run" expresses as much longing as bravado. "Supernova" boasts a catchy melody and clever lyrics, but it's also one of Phair's most straightforward songs, with none of the complexity or off-kilter structure of her best work. On the other hand, as silly love songs go this is a good one, with a confident and even joyous vocal performance from Phair. As if to reassure old fans that she hasn't changed too much, she flings the f-word into the mix, but it feels perfunctory. At heart this is a would-be pop hit, and it's a respectable if uninspired (and commercially unremarkable) effort. 

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