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on 18 January 2017
Many people want Liz Phair to be forever angry like a teenage girl, a sound that brought her attention, but Liz has grown up since then!! It would be the same for Alanis Morissette... they can't keep on down Heartbreak Avenue forever. It's nice to hear that Liz is in a much happier place these days. Great album. Lovely to listen to as I'm falling to sleep in bed... very calming :-)
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To Liz Phair: Go back to being a lo-fi artist. Because this pop sound will never suit you.

Former indie-rockster Phair alienated a good chunk of her fanbase with the release of a slick pop-oriented record, self-titled, and cowritten with (hang your heads in sorrow) the Matrix. It was flashy, cheap and poorly-written, and even the catchy hooks were easily forgettable.

At least the follow-up "Somebody's Miracle" possesses a less commercial, more enjoyable sound. Unfortunately, Phair is still missing the boat. She tries to straddle between indie-rock and pop, and ends up with a rather dull midtempo rock sound.

Things start off weakly with the "Leap of Innocence," a slice of guitar pop that strives for charming catchiness, but never quite manages it. That continues through most of the songs that follow, with similar countrypop riffs, drum machines and some rather tinny cycling guitars that sound like a mp3 set on repeat. There are a few that achieve catchy status, like the uneven "Can't Get Out Of what I'm Into," and a few that are lower tempo in the manner of a midtempo ballad.

Is "Somebody's Miracle" a bad album? No. Is it a good album? No. Is it a middle-of-the-road album with nothing to really distinguish it? Absolutely.

At the end of the day, this album has no standout tracks and little to make you remember a riff, a tune, or a musical flourish when the songs have ended. It's powerpop without soul or originality, or even instrumentation that makes it stick out.

Even more unmemorable are the lyrics. Good luck finding anything barbed, sarcastic or insightful about men, women, sex, life, relationships and anything else. Devoid of humour, these become rather cheery and optimistic, and not in a pleasant way; the style peaks in the obscenely trite "Stars and Planets," where even Phair seems to be uncomfortable with how silly she sounds.

"Somebody's Miracle" is also hampered by Phair's vocals -- they're nasal and have a limited range. This is painfully obvious in songs like "Count on My Love," where she tries hard to soar vocally, but can only manage a loud drone. A good singer knows her vocal limitations and works around them, but Phair isn't doing that.

After her lambasting for "going commercial," Liz Phair tries to satisfy everyone with her middle-of-the-road pop-rock. But the only thing she turns out is a big, bland, room-temperature mass, easily digested and just as easily forgotten.
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To Liz Phair: Go back to being a lo-fi artist. Because this pop sound will never suit you.

Former indie-rockster Phair alienated a good chunk of her fanbase with the release of a slick pop-oriented record, self-titled, and cowritten with (hang your heads in sorrow) the Matrix. It was flashy, cheap and poorly-written, and even the catchy hooks were easily forgettable.

At least the follow-up "Somebody's Miracle" possesses a less commercial, more enjoyable sound. Unfortunately, Phair is still missing the boat. She tries to straddle between indie-rock and pop, and ends up with a rather dull midtempo rock sound.

Things start off weakly with the "Leap of Innocence," a slice of guitar pop that strives for charming catchiness, but never quite manages it. That continues through most of the songs that follow, with similar countrypop riffs, drum machines and some rather tinny cycling guitars that sound like a mp3 set on repeat. There are a few that achieve catchy status, like the uneven "Can't Get Out Of what I'm Into," and a few that are lower tempo in the manner of a midtempo ballad.

Is "Somebody's Miracle" a bad album? No. Is it a good album? No. Is it a middle-of-the-road album with nothing to really distinguish it? Absolutely.

At the end of the day, this album has no standout tracks and little to make you remember a riff, a tune, or a musical flourish when the songs have ended. It's powerpop without soul or originality, or even instrumentation that makes it stick out.

Even more unmemorable are the lyrics. Good luck finding anything barbed, sarcastic or insightful about men, women, sex, life, relationships and anything else. Devoid of humour, these become rather cheery and optimistic, and not in a pleasant way; the style peaks in the obscenely trite "Stars and Planets," where even Phair seems to be uncomfortable with how silly she sounds.

"Somebody's Miracle" is also hampered by Phair's vocals -- they're nasal and have a limited range. This is painfully obvious in songs like "Count on My Love," where she tries hard to soar vocally, but can only manage a loud drone. A good singer knows her vocal limitations and works around them, but Phair isn't doing that.

After her lambasting for "going commercial," Liz Phair tries to satisfy everyone with her middle-of-the-road pop-rock. But the only thing she turns out is a big, bland, room-temperature mass, easily digested and just as easily forgotten.
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on 26 November 2005
After a massive misfire with her self titled 2003 album (even though it wasn't that bad), Liz returns with Somebody's Miracle, an album that is more a 'redemption' on Liz' reputation. With that in mind, Liz has returned with a great album. OK, it was pretty much a given that it wouldn't be as fab as Guyville nor wcse but the results are still very surprising. I was expecting something to be merely better than the self titled but not only is it FAR better than said album, but, for me anyways, it's (possibly) better than 1994's Whip Smart (which after her s/t is my least fave album of hers). With Somebody's Miracle, Liz takes a more 'real' (for lack of a better word) approach with these songs. With her self titled, for the most part Liz was pretty unconvincing. Here, she sings about love, failed relationships and happiness vice versa and it fits. Sure, it's a million miles away from the classics Guyville and wcse but that's because it's completely different. Think more... classic rock and that pretty much sums up SM. Although there are moments like Lazy Dreamer and Everything Between Us that are just fantastically dreamy. Anyhoo, onto the tracks:
1. Leap of Innocence
Very strong opener. Clear indication that the rest of the album isn't going to be phony-esque like the Matrix produced tracks on her self titled.
2. Wind In the Mountain
One of the best songs she's done since the wcse era (oh and red light fever). A lovely, hopeful mid-tempoer.
3. Stars and Planets
One of the more poppy tracks on SM and not of the Matrix variety. Anyhoo, it's up there with What Makes You Happy as one of Liz' best 'doing-her-own-thing' pop songs. Irresistably fun.
4. Somebody's Miracle
This is one of my faves off the album. It's about the longing for that someone to be in your life. Contrary to what others may say, I think it's a fab love song with great melody and lyrics.
5. Got My Own Thing
I do like this track a lot but it's not one of my faves. The chorus is catchy and great but that's all it really does for me.
6. Count On My Love
Not as bad as I feared. Sure, it'll never be in my top ten of my fave Liz songs but it's a lot of fun in a cheesy sort of way. The only complaint I have for it is a line in the chorus that goes 'an umbrella when it's raining' which feels silly. Still, very catchy song and Liz sounds great so who cares?
7. Lazy Dreamer
Another one of my faves. I love everything about this. It's just so...dreamy:).
8. Everything to Me
For me, this is one of the album's weakest moments. Why it was chosen as the first single I'll never know. There are far finer tracks that could have been used. The lyrics are nice and the song itself is very touching and sad but it never really lifts itself out of ordinary.
9. Closer to You
A lovely song. Fits a lot better at this point in the album than Can't Get Out What I'm Into did. Another one of my faves.
10. Table for One
You could say that this is the Little Digger of the album. Only far, FAR better. In the live version I've heard of the song, it's just Liz on acoustic and it sounded marvellous. Here, there's sweeping guitars etc and it strips away some of the emotions the song stirred in the first place. A very sad song (sample lyric: 'I still see that guy in my memory... oh I wanna die alone with my sympathy beside me'). Love it.
11. Why I Lie
Yet another one of my faves. To me, it's very vintage Liz and that will never be a bad thing. Great song.
12. Lost Tonight
I don't like this song much. Bar a great line about a blackout, it does absolutely nothing for me. The album's weakest moment easily.
13. Everything (Between Us)
This song is just fantastic. From the 'ba ba ba's singing in the background of the guitar playing at the start of the song to the gorgeous chorus... it's just a fantastic song.
14. Giving It All To You
This song ends the album on a happy note. Very catchy, upbeat. The lyrics (especially the chorus) are sweet and ends a great album in style.
Overall, this is a massive improvement on the s/t. Although, this is far from Liz' glory days (that would be Guyville and wcse mainly), it's still a great album. There is not one awful track on the album; all of them are good (very often great) in their own right.
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