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Monday, August 4, 2008

Phair Weather Week: Creative Quickie - Answer This

This week’s articles tie to my current interest in all things Liz Phair. If you’re unfamiliar with her, she’s one of the early alt-indie-tough-sexy-filthy-rocker chicks, hitting the music scene in 1993 with “Exile in Guyville,” an album ranked as one of the best that year and on many long lists of all-time bests. With a 15th anniversary digital re-issue of "Guyville," I’ve been going back through her catalog and story – as varied as both have been.

“Guyville” was envisioned as a song-by-song answer to “Exile on Main Street” by the Rolling Stones. Answer songs aren’t new though. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynard Skynard was an answer to Neil Young’s “Southern Man.” Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” triggered an answer in Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”

Beyond simple inspiration, in each case a new creative work was formed as a reply to another. The approach is certainly used in commercials, books, and other creative efforts.

Try applying this intriguing creative technique yourself in a twist on changing your perspective. Choose a particular work’s subject matter or statement, figuratively walk around to its opposite side, and create a response from 180 degrees away.

Throughout the rest of the week, we’ll mine Liz Phair’s lyrics and music for other interesting creative insights, so please use the comments section to provide your own “answer posts”!

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