The Sophtware Slump

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The Sophtware Slump
Studio album by Grandaddy
Released May 29, 2000
Genre Indie rock, space rock
Length 46:47
Label V2
Producer Jason Lytle
Grandaddy chronology
Signal to Snow Ratio
(1999)
The Sophtware Slump
(2000)
The Windfall Varietal
(2000)

The Sophtware Slump is the second studio album by American indie rock band Grandaddy. It was released on May 29, 2000, through record label V2.

It is seen by some as a concept album about problems concerning modern technology in society. The album was released to critical acclaim.

Background[edit]

Being their second album, the title The Sophtware Slump is a reference to a sophomore slump, a term given to an artist's second album which is seen to fail to live up to the first album.

Recording[edit]

The album was written and recorded by frontman Jason Lytle alone in a remote farmhouse. He has been quoted as saying, "I just remember everything out there was dusty. Humidity and dust",[1] and described having made the recordings "in my boxer shorts, bent over keyboards with sweat dripping off my forehead, frustrated, hungover and trying to call my coke dealer".[1]

Writing and composition[edit]

Regarding the album's recurring android, Jed, who appears in the tracks, "Jed the Humanoid" and "Jed's Other Poem (Beautiful Ground)", Lytle noted "I used Jed as my therapy vehicle, I guess... I was attempting to approach the subject of drinking, and possibly the fact that you may perhaps drink a little bit too much. [...] Humour has always been way up there at the top of my list of dealing with anything that could be considered serious. Sometimes you don't wanna be smacked in the face with certain bits of reality like that."[2]

The album's penultimate song, "Miner at the Dial-a-View", originates from a 1989 home demo, with Lytle noting, "After a certain point, when the Earth has been tapped of all its resources, they start mining other planets. And there's these machines – they're a lot like, y'know, the tabletop poker games that you find in bars now – and the idea is to add coins to it, and you can punch in the latitude and longitude of places on earth, and revisit wherever you want. And [the narrator]'s actually revisiting his house, and he's seeing the girl that he's got back home is hanging out with some other guy, and he misses home."[2]

Release[edit]

The Sophtware Slump was released on May 29, 2000. It reached No. 36 on the UK Albums Chart in its first week of release, re-entering the chart in 2001, peaking at number 63.[3] By February 2001 the album had sold 20,000 copies in the US and almost 80,000 worldwide.[4] By 2006 it had sold 107,000 copies.[5]

The album was reissued in 2011 with a second disc of bonus material containing B-sides, EP tracks, outtakes and demos.[6]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[7]
Robert Christgau A−[8]
Drowned in Sound 10/10[9]
Mojo 4/5 stars[10]
NME 9/10[11]
Pitchfork 8.5/10 (2000)[12]
(2011)[13]
Q 4/5 stars[10]
Stylus A−[14]

The Sophtware Slump was released to widespread critical acclaim.

The CMJ New Music Monthly noted Jason Lytle's "new infatuation with technology, expertly juxtaposed with his almost spiritual connection to the West's wide-open spaces and bird-filled skies", and stated that "Lytle expresses sympathy for the lost souls and machines of the high-tech dot-com landscape throughout the album".[4] The New York Times called the album "a heart-achingly beautiful requiem for a culture in which progress and technology have led to alienation and disposability".[15] AllMusic called it "Grandaddy's most impressive work yet".[7] The Daily Telegraph said the album was one of the highlights of 2000, describing it as "a work of rare and precious qualities. A collection of emotional, richly melodic songs that deal with modern man's uneasy relationship with technology".[16] Steve Taylor, in his book The A to X of Alternative Music, viewed The Sophtware Slump as "clean, lush and less understated" than the band's previous work, describing "The Crystal Lake" as "a perfectly executed pop song".[17]

Legacy[edit]

The indie music magazine Under the Radar ranked The Sophtware Slump fifteenth in its list of the best albums of the 2000s.[18]

Regarding the album's acclaim and legacy, Jason Lytle noted, "I would record The Sophtware Slump over again. The fact that this album has gotten this sort of acclaim only reconfirms to me what a load of shit this business is. An album about trees and computers that came out right after OK Computer? I don't get it... but I do."[19]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Jason Lytle

No. Title Length
1. "He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot"   8:52
2. "Hewlett's Daughter"   3:06
3. "Jed the Humanoid"   4:18
4. "The Crystal Lake"   5:00
5. "Chartsengrafs"   2:51
6. "Underneath the Weeping Willow"   2:40
7. "Broken Household Appliance National Forest"   4:34
8. "Jed's Other Poem (Beautiful Ground)"   3:25
9. "E. Knievel Interlude (The Perils of Keeping It Real)"   1:57
10. "Miner at the Dial-a-View"   5:21
11. "So You'll Aim Toward the Sky"   4:43

Personnel[edit]

Grandaddy
  • Jason Lytle – vocals, all instruments, producer, mixing
  • Jim Fairchild – "on/off switch assistance", performer
  • Aaron Burtch – performer
  • Kevin Garcia – performer
  • Tim Dryden – performer
Additional personnel

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Barton, Laura (May 19, 2006). "'Stuff Doesn't Happen Unless I'm Alone'". The Guardian. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Wisgard, Alex. "Grandaddy's Jason Lytle Revisits The Sophtware Slump | The Line of Best Fit". thelineofbestfit.com. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Grandaddy | Artist | Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Richard A. Martin (February 2011). "Hidden Agenda: Grandaddy's Fake Plastic Trees Can't Obscure How Good They Are". CMJ New Music Monthly: 38. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  5. ^ Bronson, Kevin (June 5, 2006). "Grandaddy Leader Finally Changes His Tune on Band". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. p. 5E. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  6. ^ Stickler, Jon (June 28, 2011). "Grandaddy Announce Deluxe Edition of 'The Software Slump'". stereoboard.com. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "The Sophtware Slump – Grandaddy : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Grandaddy". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  9. ^ Skinner, James (August 22, 2011). "Grandaddy – The Sophtware Slump: Deluxe Edition / Releases / Releases // Drowned in Sound". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Critic Reviews for The Sophtware Slump – Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  11. ^ "The Sophtware Slump". NME. September 12, 2005. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  12. ^ Schreiber, Ryan (June 6, 2000). "Grandaddy: The Sophtware Slump". Pitchfork. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  13. ^ Mike Powell (August 31, 2011). "Grandaddy: The Sophtware Slump". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  14. ^ Cooper, Dan (September 1, 2003). "Sophtware Slump – Review". Stylus. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  15. ^ Strauss, Neil (December 2000). "Music: The Year in Pop and Jazz: the Critics' Choices; Rapes of Persecution, Songs of Alienation". The New York Times. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  16. ^ McCormick, Neil (February 1, 2001). "Bearded and Proud". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  17. ^ Taylor, Steve. The A to X of Alternative Music. Continuum. pp. 119–120. ISBN 0-8264-7396-2. 
  18. ^ Under the Radar (29). 2009. 
  19. ^ Diver, Mike (June 26, 2006). "Grandaddy, From Beyond the Grave: Jason Lytle Talks to DiS". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 

External links[edit]