Exile in Guyville was a breakthrough that shook up the indie scene in 1993, and with 1994's Whip-Smart, Liz Phair presents a more polished effort that exudes added depth and breadth. The story goes that Phair had an album focused on industry shenanigans she experienced post Exile…. However, the label execs wanted something more akin to the debut LP. As a result, Phair revisited and built on older material she wrote as Girly Sound and also wrote new songs about meeting someone, having a relationship, then eventually breaking up. Despite the similar thematic arc, Whip-Smart showcases a more mature Liz Phair, with clever, inventive songwriting and added attention to instrumentation (production was handled by Brad Wood again). What she does not change, however, is the frankness to which she approaches the subjects covered over 14 tracks—sex, love, freedom, power, etc. Check out "Jealousy," "Supernova," "Dogs of L.A.," "Shane," and "Chopsticks."
- gatefold sleeve
- includes printed insert
- music label: Capitol Records 1994 / 2018
reviewed by rei kwondo 06/18