Released 8th May 2000
Key Tracks: ‘He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot’, ‘Jed the Humanoid’, ‘Crystal Lake’
I am inclined to obsession. Whether it be football stickers, record collections or Pokémon Go. Occasionally, this will manifest itself in the form of a single song. Grandaddy’s magnum opus ‘He’s Beautiful, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot’ is one such song that I just can’t shake. The opening track from the bands second album The Sophtware Slump is an ethereal and beautiful meditation on technology and mortality. I now consider it to be one of the best songs ever written.
In 2000, the music world was waiting for Radiohead to finally release a sequel to the game changing OK Computer. Nobody expected an indie rock band from Modesto, California to sneak that sequel out before Radiohead even did…
The Sophtware Slump is a loose concept album based around the human race and its complicated relationship with technology. The result is unforgettable songs like the haunting, androids lament ‘Jed the Humanoid’ and the achingly beautiful ‘Miner at the Dial-A-View’. It is difficult to recall an album that marries hard science fiction with strong emotion so successfully without ever feeling like a gimmick. Indeed, it is also a testament to the vision of frontman Jason Lytle that even 17 years on, the album doesn’t feel dated.
Lytle recorded the album by himself in a remote farmhouse commenting ‘I was in my boxer shorts, bent over keyboards with sweat dripping off my forehead, frustrated, hungover and trying to call my coke dealer’. Who knew that such conditions could birth a masterpiece.
The Sophtware Slump is wondrous, unique and kind of sad. But it is a nice sadness. A calming regret that we have all felt on those dark nights of the soul. The album is a classic.