Liz Phair kicks off her newest song with one of her typically classic first lines: “There’s so many ways to fuck up a life / I’ve tried to be original.” She’s certainly been that, blazing onto the music scene in 1993 with the breakthrough response album Exile In Guyville (which Matador reissued last year as a 25th-anniversary box set), her gateway to an indie rock/pop star career, appearances at Lilith Fair, and recently, a book deal. Her new memoir, Horror Stories, has just been released, and Phair announces that she’s back to creating in the recording studio as well.
Stereogum reports that Phair’s “Good Side,” released today, is her first new track since 2010’s Funstyle (not counting a 2014 Christmas song). For her upcoming album, set to be released in 2020, she’s again working with producer Brad Wood, who co-produced and played drums on her first three albums. Phair is also drafting Casey Rice, who played guitar on Guyville and Phair’s second album Whip-Smart. She tells Stereogum, “I think the comprehensive and gorgeous reissue of my first record plus the Girly-Sound track made me nostalgic for the old days—thinking about the mindset we had when we were just starting out. I think I was curious to see what kind of music Brad and I (and Casey) would make now, on the other side of our careers.”
She explains that “Good Side” was “the first song Brad and I really latched onto during these recording sessions and the song that really set the production tone for the album.” The song definitely hearkens back to Phair’s earlier, more organic moments, bypassing the sleek pop of her mid-career songs like “Why Can’t I.” It’s a mellow jaunt that maybe doesn’t kick in as much as you’d like (although Wood adds some intriguing background tracks like horns and birdlike noises)—but it would work nicely as an album opener announcing the long-awaited next phase of Phair’s career.