On her latest album, Funstyle, indie pop princess Liz Phair is up for making fun of everything from soccer moms to scenesters to, well, herself. But, she tells Metro, her songwriting is not about mockery, it’s all about empathy.
“I think that as I get older, I’m more willing to show that I have doubts and insecurities,” the 43-year-old Chicago native says. “I feel like we’re all in life together and one of the things I’ve always fought for is that we should tell each other the truth.”
All of which might sound deeply serious, but Funstyle lives up to its name, meshing rap, ragga, bhangra, R&B and even spacey electronic soundscapes with Phair’s trademark harmonic indie pop. It’s a swings and roundabouts mix that flies from upbeat to melancholic and back again.
“I’m either really big picture or immediately right down in it,” explains Phair of her emotional scope.
The record includes an intriguing bonus disc, Girlysound, which collects rarities and demos that predate Phair’s tour de force debut, 1993’s Exile In Guyville. Even when heavily doused in irony and bravado, Phair thinks truthfulness is an especially crucial element to her work, and these older songs show that’s always been the case.
“Honesty’s become increasingly important to me. I mean, it was in my earlier work anyway,” she says. “I just didn’t know then how much it was going to be.”