It's an intriguing question, especially when the singer in question is divorced mother Liz Phair and the "teen upstart" none other than sk8er pop princess, Avril Lavigne!
Well, the good news is that Liz Phair's latest self-titled album never quite sounds smothered by the carbon copy polished pop production that the Matrix tailored for Ms. Lavigne's chart success. Sure, the opening "Extraordinary" is a soft to almost loud 'n lyrical power pop anthem cut from the same cloth as Avril's "Complicated". And yes, the first single "Why Can't I?" is a throwaway breeze that taps into the requisite teen-friendly theme of... misunderstood love.
Yet while you can readily imagine little Avril singing for her supper on such simply structured anthems as "Favorite", Phair's lyrics reveal a far more mature, darker bent. Yes, we're talking about a string of songs obsessed with sex. "Rock Me" is a radio-ready celebration of toy boys who turn her on by playing with their Xbox, while "H.W.C." walks the line between introspective angst and folk-ish jangle pop rhapsodising the frank 'n forthright pleasures of fellatio ("Hot White Come", geddit?).
Oozing such unadulterated lyrical sass, Phair seems completely comfortable dabbling in a variety of musical settings, moving from burbling bar room rock ditties ("Sweet" and "Take a Look") to an infectious mix of jukebox friendly adult contemporary country moods ("Red Light Fever", "Good Love Never Dies"). Which is something that even makes those sugary Avril-pop moments ultimately "cool".
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