For the Record: Jeff Bridges

A while back Stevie asked me to review the new (it was new then) CD by Jeff Bridges (I do take requests. I reserve the right to not honor them). I checked at the library and they had a copy so I put in a request and a few weeks later it was available. I had to listen to it for a couple of weeks before I was ready to write about it.

This is usually not a good sign. A great album will grab you from the first listen and you can’t stop listening to it and you want to rush out and tell everyone how great it is. The “Jeff Bridges” CD I picked up while in my car and drove around for a bit and eventually had to take it out because I was afraid I was going to fall asleep while on the road.

I did gain a greater appreciation for it as time went on — I went from forcing myself to listen to it to actually putting it on out of vague interest. Not a ringing endorsement, I know, but the best I can muster.

Aside from a fairly rocking opening number — What a Little Bit of Love Can Do — this is a very mellow album. It’s not something you’d put on to liven up a party, more like what you put on when the party’s over and it’s just you and your close friends sitting around and contemplating life. The Dude would approve.

Bridges caught everyone’s attention as a singer with his impressive performance last year in “Crazy Heart.” His performance there, and the songs, were much better. This is more of the same country-flavored music but it lacks spark. There’s nothing wrong with the album — none of the songs make you want to tear your ears out — but few of the songs really grab your attention. It’s fine background music.

There is one track that I love — Slow Boat. It’s the longest track and the strangest and one of the slowest, but it’s got a wonderfully down-and-dirty groove and Bridges performs the vocals in a delicious gravelly whisper. It’s also the song that most people would probably hate.

So… do I recommend “Jeff Bridges” the album? It has one great song and a few good ones and the rest are OK. It’s an album that takes some getting used to. It’s worth the effort if you have the time. But I would not recommend Bridges give up his day job.

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