Sleeping Tapes – Jeff Bridges

Sleeping Tapes is one of the coolest albums to come out so far this year.

I know, that sounds a bit ridiculous, but bare with me for a minute.

Many fading celebrities have their own ways of staying popular. They either guest-star on trendy sitcoms or they go full Randy Quaid on us to remind us that they’re still alive (and pretty fucking nuts at that).

Jeff Bridges has always managed to avoid this trap. While my generation will undoubtedly canonize him forever as the Dude, he’s never really become a self-parody. Maybe it’s because his act doesn’t feel so put on; he legitimately always comes across as a serene individual. You wouldn’t mind having him as a hippie uncle because he’d be cool and teach you how to hide your weed from your dad like he used to back in the day.

Then I saw the commercials for Sleeping Tapes during the Super Bowl. Like many of you, I thought it had to be Jeff cashing in on the gimmick of being the Dude. I mean even the title of the thing seems lazy. Sleeping Tapes by Jeff Bridges? 3 words: yeah fucking right!

Okay, maybe I was being harsh. After all, I had heard that Jeff was a real-life buddhist and apparently wrote a book on meditation only a few years back. I haven’t read it, but I suppose it does give him some credibility in the field.

So I downloaded the album and it sat on my laptop for days. It’s a tendency I have. When I download too much music all at once, I tend to never get around to listening to too much of it once I get engrossed in one album. The perils of having choice?

Sooner than later, I do end up having a sleepless night and the restlessness led me to give the album a try. I pulled it up on my iTunes, plugged in my headphones, hit play and laid back down, hoping this mumbo jumbo would help.

The beginning starts off a low toned swirls of organs. Jeff begins to ramble in his signature voice about the purpose of his tapes by dissecting the words sleeping tapes. He’s so nonchalant that the feeling is contagious. Some of the stuff that follows I expected: chiming, low-noted chanting, and a bit of humming. What I didn’t expect was how psychedelic it would all be. From the sounds and textures he invokes to guide his listener down the path to unconsciousness to the anecdotes he recites, it’s almost like Jeff is being your trip sitter instead of trying to put you to sleep.

I’ve listened to the Tapes four times since and I think I know the exact moment I begin to drift off, the track titled “Temescal Canyon.” The track is a staggering 11 minutes long, but in terms of the journey, it feels pretty short. Throughout the track, the Dude masterfully narrates you through a hiking trip with him through the location of the title track. With your eyes closed, the Dude’s words accompanied with the natural sounds entice you to paint your own picture and as you drift further and further away, the picture gets clearer.

Long story short, I got something out of the tapes, other than a sleep aid. What I got was a trippy yet relaxing audible experience. This is too well-crafted and thought-out to be a simple cash grab. Simply put, these tapes are as legit as the Dude himself.

Get Sleeping Tapes right HERE or listen to the whole thing below

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