“Why Can’t I?” by Liz Phair

Liz Phair did eventually topple from her throne as the Queen of Indie Pop (her 2010 album Funstyle in particular basically destroyed her career and is even worse than that makes it sound). That said, her prime was much longer than most Indie snobs would care to admit, and her first four albums still constitute some of the greatest music the genre ever produced. This song was her only real crossover hit on the Pop charts, and as such is viewed with surprising hostility by some old-school Indie snobs despite it providing virtually no rational grounds for objection. It’s a beautiful, sweet ballad about the first jittery thrill of falling in love, admittedly more Pop-friendly than her earlier stuff but still with enough of a delicate touch to maintain its Indie flavor. The Indie Rock crossover hits of the 2000s and the subgenres that tended to produce them were generally viewed with a measure of suspicion back in that decade, and seeing one of Indie Rock’s all-time icons produce one would have been tantamount to treason in the eyes of many Indie pundits back then. But today, when Indie music crossing over to the Pop charts is such a common occurrence, there really is no reason to hold such outdated attitudes against this song anymore. Indeed, despite the accusations of the Indie snobs, Liz Phair never sold out (I’m not sure what the Funstyle album actually was, but it was way too audience-unfriendly to qualify as a sellout move).

Verdict: One of the best Indie Rock crossover hits of the decade, right up there with “New Slang” and “Float On”.

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