Stratford-On-Guy

Album: Exile In Guyville (1993)

Songfacts®:

  • On the second single from Liz Phair's debut album, the singer describes the faraway hustle and bustle of Chicago from the vantage point of her seat on an airplane 30,000 ft above. "Not a day goes by that someone doesn't tell me that they booked 27D on their airplane seat specifically to have that experience," she told Rolling Stone in 2018. It's amazing."
  • The title combines a play on Stratford-upon-Avon, the medieval English town where William Shakespeare was born, where Phair visited as a child, and Guyville, a derisive nickname for late '80s/early '90s indie music scene in Chicago. "The whole pretentiousness of the guy scene that Urge Overkill dubbed Guyville and we all ended up calling Guyville. That preciousness of it was really important to the tastemakers who lived there, and I wanted to give it that kind of pretentious name like 'Stratford-On-Guy,'" she explained. "They felt like they were the arbiters of cool and 'Stratford-on-Guy' is me waking up as I travel out of there and just getting out of that neighborhood and it all falls off of you. It all just falls away. There is this sense that you're literally at 30,000 feet above the scene that you are so involved in and this relationship you're so involved in and it's just a literal perspective shift above it. A lot of the bullshit just falls away."
  • Exile In Guyville was conceived as a response to the Rolling Stones' 1972 album, Exile On Main St., with this tune corresponding to "Shine A Light." Both songs deal with struggling souls. While Phair gets some perspective flying high above the city in seat 27-D, Mick Jagger watches an ailing friend slip away in room 10-0-9.
  • Phair likens her stewardess to Brigitte Bardot. Bardot was a French actress, model, and singer who found international fame in the '50s and '60s.

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