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After Exile in Guyville turned Liz Phair into an indie-rock pinup queen, rock critics and lo-fi aficionados everywhere awaited her follow-up with bated breath. Instead of making Guyville II, Phair sidestepped expectations by delivering Whip-smart, an album that replaced the shoestring intimacy of her debut with more traditional song arrangements and (gasp!) professional-sounding production. Though it lacks anything as memorable (and quotable) as Guyville's "Fuck and Run," the record has some notable high points, including the acerbic "Chopsticks," the lovely ballad "Nashville," and the perfect pop single "Supernova." In short, Whip-smart isn't the tremendous artistic statement Guyville was, but it's far more accessible--and quite enjoyable on its own terms. --Dan Epstein