Exile in Comparison


So an interesting topic was brought up recently.  I had made comments in reference to my high school days and Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville on my blog post George W. Stearns High School.  In the comments Brian mentioned that this record was a song by song answer to the Rolling Stone Exile on Main St.  This was the first time I’d heard this and was very interested in looking into it more.

In a 1998 interview with NPR, Liz Phair says that she had this huge crush on this indie guy in the village she lived in.  His life in her eyes somewhat mirrored theme of Exile on Main St.  So she took those thoughts and loosely tried to recreate the mood of Main St. in writing Exile.   She also said she would often take the tempo and solo placement into considerations.

In doing my research I found a lot of those who think that I was not a song for song comparison.  They argue that a few of the tunes had been written (and even recorded) years earlier.  I guess we can only take her partially for her word.

So I took another step,  I combined the two records into one playlist on Spotify.  And then I listened.

Spotify playlist —>HERE

I have to start by saying that I really am not all that familiar with Exile on Main St. (Gasp!) I am a relatively new listener to the Stones.   I of coarse have heard their bigger hits, but never really dug any deeper than what was on the surface until recently.  Don’t worry Stones fans I am currently correcting that.  I am however pretty familiar with Exile in Guyville.

From what I hear, I see very little resemblance.  I can sometimes hear the tempo being similar but other than that, the songs don’t seem the same.  Lyrics seem to not be about the same things either.  Matter of fact listening to them together just make both albums seem very random.  Maybe I should listen to them separately?

I’ll be sure to give them both a few more listens, but from my determination this might just be a scheme by Liz Phair to drum up some publicity.  What do you think?

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3 thoughts on “Exile in Comparison

  1. It’s not an obvious song-by-song response. I’ve listened to Guyville a million times and Main Street 10x that. But not sure I see where she thinks it’s a song-by-song response. I think she made an attempt to sequence the songs in an order that would match the pacing of Main Street. But that’s the only thing I can hear and say okay, I believe that. Both Jagger and Phair seem to be posing as other people. I don’t think either album is auto-biographical.

  2. Unfortunately, Spotify does not include the actual Stones album in whole. There are a few tracks which mistakenly play the alternative versions. Loving Cup is an alternative, inferior track IMO. Soul Survivor has Keith on vocals. Which is interesting, but’s it’s clearly not the finished track with Jagger on vocals. Interesting, but inferior to the original track.

    I do see some similarities in the Phair and Stones titles back to back. Sweet Black Angel vs. Canary as well as Stop Breaking Down vs. Gunshy.

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