Two old Liz Phair songs have been floating around my head a lot lately: "Go West," which I did, when I left NY for LA almost six years ago, and "California," her farewell to the Golden State.
In "Go West", the lyric "And it feels like I've got something to prove / But in some ways it's just something to do" couldn't be more apt for what I was doing when I came out here. There just wasn't much more to it. I wish I had known then what I was trying to prove - I'm still not sure, truthfully - but mostly I just wasn't ready to go back to Atlanta.
"California," on the other hand, doesn't say much at all. And while my departure isn't as much about defeat and sadness (I may well have said that about NYC when I left), as it is just generally about it being time, I love how she captured so much emotion with so few lyrics.
I bought Exile in Guyville when it came out, when I was a senior in high school, and then later dug into the songs she recorded as Girly Sounds through the Juvenilia EP. I haven't listened to her music a ton since then, but my teenage self burned all those lyrics into my brain, and I can still sing pretty much everything she recorded in the 90s from top to bottom without pausing. Her depressive, alternately cocky, self-destructive, and alienated ethos spoke to me more than any other artist I'd ever even heard then, and more than most have since.
So I guess I'll keep letting her speak for me until I can say things better myself.
p.s. Recently came across this piece about what she's up to now. Loved this quote: "Her brand of feminism is simple: “All you have to do is live your life with some pride and some honesty, and you’re pushing it forward,” Phair said." Amen to that.