Book Review: Summertime Peruse

Liz Phair broke a lot of strings – and Kanye, from bootstraps to bootlickers

Summertime Peruse

Exile in Guyville

by Gina Arnold
Bloomsbury Publishing, 122 pp., $13

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

by Kirk Walker Graves
Bloomsbury, 152 pp., $14.95 (paper)

Ever since Warren Zanes found a way to write 131 pages about Dusty Springfield's Dusty in Memphis in 2003, Bloomsbury's 33¹3 series has sourced some of the most in-depth and exhaustive examinations of popular music's most essential albums. This month, volumes 96 and 97. The appraisals, Gina Arnold on 1993 Liz Phair breakout Exile in Guyville and Kirk Walker Graves wrestling Kanye West's 2010 masterpiece My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, are notable for the degrees to which they differ. Both center around Chicago natives; Graves reveals an artist helplessly consumed with materialism and fame, while Arnold discovers "a celebration of the troubling emotional quandaries that twenty-something women can get into in the realms of [the] arty bohemian urban world of the mid-1990s music scene," one rife with more men than guitar strings – and there were a lot of guitar strings. Graves' trope details MBDTF song by song, breaking down each guest spot and production decision, while Arnold's study veers more abstract, remembering with primary focus what it was like to hear, sing, and strum a six-string with such strength, soul, and sincerity.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Liz Phair
SXSW Records
Liz Phair
Funstyle (Record Review)

Richard Whittaker, March 18, 2011

More Kanye West
ACL Live Shots
Kanye West

Thomas Fawcett, Sept. 23, 2011

Off the Record
Off the Record
The 2011 Austin City Limits Music Festival draws to a close, as does Emo's outside on Sixth Street

Austin Powell, Sept. 23, 2011

More Music Reviews
<i>Me & Mr. Cigar</i>
Me & Mr. Cigar
Butthole Surfers singer Gibby Haynes debuts a deeply weird and wonderful young adult novel.

Alyssa Quiles, Feb. 21, 2020

Revenge of the She-Punks
Revenge of the She-Punks

Rachel Rascoe, Dec. 6, 2019

More by Chase Hoffberger
Revisiting the Railroad Killer
Revisiting the Railroad Killer
Local journo Alex Hannaford’s Dead Man Talking podcast investigates the case against a man on death row

Nov. 16, 2018

EMS Union Set for Leadership Contest
EMS Union Set for Leadership Contest
Association to cast ballot between incumbent Tony Marquardt or challenger Selena Xie

Nov. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Liz Phair, Kanye West

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle