S3 Scribble #7: Help Me Mary

“I’m asking you, Mary, please,”

Ever since I was 17 years old and a junior in high school, Exile in Guyville by Liz Phair has been my favorite album. At the time, it spoke to my feelings of being stuck and misunderstood. Today, the album holds a very special place in my memory, but it also remains relevant to my life and transition to adulthood. Exile in Guyville was released in 1993, so this year (2023) marks its 30th anniversary. Last Sunday, I had the privilege of attending Liz Phair’s concert in Detroit where she played the entire album from front to back. 

“Temper my hatred with peace.”

I went to the show with one of my best friends, and I met many other kind and thoughtful fans while waiting for the show to begin. Hearing the entire album live was a dream come true, and being so close to an artist who helped inspire me to get better at guitar and write and create my own music was surreal. I smiled, sang, cried, and danced, and it was a night and feeling I will never forget. I was even given one of Liz Phair’s guitar picks after the show! 

“Weave my disgust into fame,”

During the concert, in addition to the awe I was experiencing, I reflected on how far I’ve come since I first listened to Exile in Guyville at age 17. In the five years since then, I have become more confident and independent, but perhaps most importantly, I am a lot happier now. I couldn’t help but feel proud and happy for myself – combined with the music, it made me emotional in the best way possible. I am grateful for the self-improvement and growth that I have experienced, and I am thrilled that I was able to have such a special opportunity to prompt this reflection. Thank you Liz Phair for your music and for giving me a way to process and understand my emotions at a time when I felt confused and overwhelmed, and thank you for a wonderful show. Exile in Guyville will remain an important part of me for the rest of my life! 

“And watch how fast they run to the flame.”

Listen to Help Me Mary  by Liz Phair here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHRvYsXvS8M

Sydney Braun

University of Michigan Class of 2024. Pronouns: she/her. Double Major in Environment and Communication & Media. Huge fan of 80s/90s music, not a fan of single-use plastic water bottles. Be sure to check out Song Scribbles With Sydney, where I use my favorite music to help analyze my emotions and experiences at college, posted every Wednesday!

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1 Comment on "S3 Scribble #7: Help Me Mary"

7 months 17 days ago

I was there too, Sydney– It was such a fun show, and an iconic album!