Rewind: Grandaddy- The Sophtware Slump

When I was in my early to mid teens, I spent a summer (eh, a little less than that) at my uncle’s house in Modesto. Which is to say, for the several weeks that I was there, I was extremely bored. I’m not even being sarcastic about this either. You see, Modesto, is located about ninety-something miles east of San Francisco. Which is to say, it’s far from anything that remotely resembles a “fun” city. And, if Wikipedia is to be believed, it’s number six among all California counties in farm production. Yeah, you guessed it. It’s a farmland city. Basically, if you can’t fall asleep, you’re more than likely to count chickens (or cows) instead of sheep.

But, I digress. The point is: When I first heard Grandaddy’s The Sophtware Slump, I was taken back to that dull summer and to the detached insular feeling I had when I was there. A feeling that permeated throughout the record and throughout my first experience with it. All this because, the members of Grandaddy (Modesto natives themselves) used dreamy lo-fi vocals, gauzy keyboards, and earnest lyrics to capture the isolation, and humdrum of day-to-day life in Modesto perfectly.

For instance, on “The Crystal Lake,” Jason Lytle, sings about wanting to get out; “I’ve gotta get outta here. I’ve gotta get outta here.” During that chorus, I knew exactly what he felt, or what he was trying to get at—that longing to be anywhere, but your present location. In the end, its detached lyrics, and ELO influenced neo-psychedelic pop hit a chord with me, and my psyche. Truth is, to this day, whenever a song from the Sophtware Slump comes on my iPod, I’m immediately taken back to that summer, and to the aloof, insular feeling I had (living) there. Thankfully, this time around, it’s just for a visit, and not another long and dull summer.