Liz Phair – “Canary”

Year: 1993

Album: Exile In Guyville

If the story is true that Exile In Guyville is a track-by-track response to Exile on Main St., then is “Canary” Phair’s “Sweet Black Angel“? Is Phair singing from the perspective of Jagger’s chained slave who, in a sense, acts as a canary trained to only speak a few words and come when called? If so, Phair has taken out the Stone’s political message (no judges murder here) and focuses on the imaginary chains of learning and earning one’s name for love or something more romantic. Is it forced or voluntary? That’s left to the listener to decide. But if there’s no Stones comparison to make, you can just hear “Canary” as a beautiful piano ballad sung in Phair’s genuine melodic do-not-fuck-with-me utterance that indie musicians have been trying to replicate for over 20 years. She’s still one of the best to ever sing it.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber