It's a cause for celebration to have a new Liz Phair album after such a long break between records. Funstyle is musically diverse and a big step to the side from the more radio friendly material on Liz Phair and Somebody's Miracle. Personally, I am a big fan of Somebody's Miracle, although I know a lot of people don't like Liz's later stuff, damning those albums as too commercial. I don't agree. They are just good, catchy songs. Funstyle sees Liz venting her spleen at the musical business on a lot of the tracks - Smoke, Bollywood, U Hate It. It may be healthy to get this stuff off her chest but these are not the strongest pieces of music on the album and they rely heavily on spoken word rather than singing for their delivery. Miss September is a standout, with a strong melody and full production. Good to have you back, Ms Phair. Hopefully the next album will be less about frustration and more about fulfilment.
Going to keep this short and sweet. Having come to Liz Phair late in my musical life and read around her life and work I've always been quietly amazed by the amount of negativity her music has attracted - OK, this is no "Exile From Guyville" - but that's as far as I'm going to echo what I'm sure will be the opening shot of many a negative review of this album. If you've always enjoyed Liz Phair's leftfield lyrical take on life, love and the world and you have a reasonably eclectic taste - then this album will be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. It is more experimental than poppy but none the worse for that, and is the latest in her story of life in the music business and general. If you've not heard any Liz Phair this is NOT the album to discover her by, but definitely one that deserves a knowing listen if you've followed her discography to get here.
I couldn't believe how fantastic the Girlysound demos are! Amazing lyrics, her voice is just so perfect for this kind of unfinished, lo-fi songs. I definitely recommend the second half of this CD which is on another level than the first half 'Funstyle'. Not so successful in terms of musical experimentation. I understand it was supposed to be an ironic/sarcastic response to her then record label but I didn't find it very compelling. I would have given it 3.5 stars