Who Is The Liz Phair Of The New Generation?S

Moe is not the only Phair-lover on staff; I, too, listened to Exile In Guyville at least once a week for the entirety of my college career, not to mention the time spent on whitechocolatespaceegg and Whip Smart. I was shaped by Phair, but not just by her alone — I also spent many, many ponderous hours with Sleater-Kinney and Kim Deal and Belly and lots of other disaffected, apathetic, introspective white ladies. Carrie Brownstein, former Sleater-Kinney guitarist was on NPR yesterday, talking about the "sound of a generation" — i.e., how music can define a specific era. Much of the talk focused on the difference between Generation X's musical preferences and Generation Y's. Although I am technically part of Generation Y, as its often defined as those born between 1982 and 2002, my musical tastes are very staunchly X, and hearing Brownstein talk made me wonder: what happened to all those sad young indie rock girls?

I realize that the music industry has changed so drastically since 1993, when Exile in Guyville came out, that indie rock has ceased to mean anything whatsoever, but I wonder what the girls like me and Moe are listening to today; not the girls who worship Rihanna and that fucking Katy Perry we get 10,000 press releases about (apparently Perry's single "I Kissed A Girl," is number 2 on iTunes. Sample lyric: "I kissed a girl just to try it, hope my boyfriend don't mind it."). I mean the girls who read Sylvia Plath and write bad poetry and secretly hate everyone and themselves. Who are they listening to?

I asked some friends who write about music, and they seem to think the days of apathy are over. "Indie rock" girls are either like M.I.A and Santogold, awesome, multicultural and political but also optimistic; or they're folk-y twee beauties like Regina Spektor and Joanna Newsom. I want to draw ties between music and the Clintons and Obama (the Clintons = apathetic 90s = Liz Phair; Obama = activist-y, optimistic aughts = M.I.A.) but blogging doesn't give me the time to flesh that out so I don't sound idiotic.

But you know, the music industry is a huge and sprawling thing these days since no one pays for music anymore anyway. There has to be some room for lonely ladies who will tell you that we're all going to die. Can anyone tell me where they are?

Sound Of A Generation [NPR]

Earlier: Did Liz Phair Predict Your Life Or Did She Actually Dictate It?