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Slick, Grace - 1984 Software




ARTIST: Slick, Grace
ALBUM: Software
LABEL: RCA
SERIAL: AFL1-4791
YEAR: 1984

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Grace Slick - lead vocals, background vocals * Peter Wolf - keyboards, linn programming, synth bass * Peter Maunu - guitars * Brian MacLeod - simmons drums * Bret Bloomfield - bass on 'Me and Me' * Michael Spiro - percussion * Dale Strumpel - sound effects * Sean Hopper, Paul Kantner, John Colla, Mickey Thomas, Ron Nevison, Ina Wolf - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Call It Right Call It Wrong * 02 Me And Me * 03 All The Machines * 04 Fox Face * 05 Through The Window * 06 It Just Won't Stop * 07 Habits * 08 Rearrange My Face * 09 Bikini Atoll


Background
During the early 1980's, Grace Slick was going it alone. She'd departed Jefferson Starship in 1978 after an acrimonious fallout and drunken incident in Germany. While the band continued on without her, Slick signed to a multi-album deal with RCA, releasing 'Dreams', 'Welcome To The Wrecking Ball' and this one: 'Software' from 1984. I'm guessing this was a contractual obligation, and the line-up of session players is impressive to say the least. Even more eye-boggling was the use of Ron Nevison as a producer. Slick looks sci-fi and modern on this release, perhaps nicking a few fashion ideas from Aussie rocker Billy Thorpe along the way. However, the material is very scratchy here, and not even Nevison and Peter Wolf can save all of it, to be honest, though it's not a total write-off.


The Songs
The drums are all electronic (Simmons), and gives the album a then modern sound, though over the intervening years, it now sounds very dated. You hear this filter through on 'Call It Right Call It Wrong'. Grace warbles all over this song. 'Me And Me' features some Mr Mister like keyboard work, is very melodic and is borne of the studio for sure. There's a bunch of fancy drum-work happening on 'All The Machines', perhaps the inspiration for the songtitle? The song is Grace's msuing of future life with machines taking over our lives. She's makes a good point, and despite the quirkiness of the song, I enjoyed her message. 'Fox Face' is a slow to mid-tempo affair, not quite ballad, with all sorts of synths and sound effects going on. Nice chorus to the song.. gotta say. 'Through The Window' is just so '1984'.. lol! With those big fat analog synths and electronic drums. A kind of likeable song regardless, written by Player's Peter Beckett. 'It Just Won't Stop' continues Grace's collision with quirky pop-rock, while she finally gets to dabble with a ballad courtesy of 'Habits', which to my ear, shuffles in the same direction as Brit folk/pop queen Judie Tzuke. Interesting song-title, 'Rearrange My Face' sounds lyrically like a story about identity crisis, rather than having a facelift. 'Bikini Atoll' might have a dreamy musical backdrop about sitting on a beach, and the lyrics are sort of 'boy meets girl' on a tropical island. I remember actress Brooke Shields appearing in a movie similar to this when she was younger.. You get the picture? Good..


In Summary
During 1984 while promotion for 'Software' was going on, Slick had already agreed to a reunion with Jefferson Starship, and this was before 'Nuclear Furniture' had been released ('Software' was released in January 1984), but her reunion occurred later in 1984 with that album. 'Software' would be the last of Grace's four solo albums (counting 1973's 'Manhole'), as she ventured all over the musical landscape for at least another decade before retiring. Grace is now a full-time artist, refer the website: www.areaarts.com.


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