Jeff Bridges, ‘Jeff Bridges’ – Album Review
Pacing is an important part of actor Jeff Bridges’ best films. His patience as Rooster Cogburn in ‘True Grit,’ “The Dude” in ‘Big Lebowski,’ and as Bad Blake in ‘Crazy Heart’ allowed viewers time to appreciate the subtleties of his work. In those little moments, brilliance is born. On his self-titled country album that’s in stores today, August 16, those little moments put you to sleep.
The album opens with ‘What a Little Bit of Love Can Do,’ one of only a few songs on the project with any tempo. The galloping love song is sweet, if not a little cheesy. It’s a perfectly unoffensive basket of bread rolls to tease what one hopes will be a main course as succulent and satisfying as the soundtrack for ‘Crazy Heart.’ T Bone Burnett teams up with Bridges to produce this album, as well.
The next nine tracks, however, are mostly slow, moody lullabies perfect for listeners trying to get a colicky baby to sleep. It’s like that game teenagers play at the bowling alley. How slowly can we roll a ball down the lane? Is it possible to give it so little push that the head pin will actually stop the 12-pound ball? Bridges voice melts right into the music, bringing the many intricate layers of his style together into one sleepy hum.
Albums like this often become brilliant when one presses play at the perfect emotional moment. It’s possible some will find that moment, or at the least do a better job excavating Bridges’ stories from the stagnancy. There are some lyrical gems to be found. The first verse of ‘Maybe I Missed the Point’ takes on complacency. “And I have so many chances to be / The hero I believe’s inside of me / But I get busy and get distracted / And I do nothing when I could have acted.”
If it weren’t for familiarity with Bridges mischievous demeanor from television appearances or his smooth but troubled characters from the big screen, few would argue on behalf of this album. He has Red Sovine-like delivery that is more talking to a melody that singing. The actor doesn’t owe anything to country music, so he has every right to write and record the music that satisfies his inner artist-child. If he wants his music career to take off, though, he may be wise to ask Bad Blake how he’d sing these same songs.