Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Jeff Bridges - Be Here Soon
This 2000 release is mentioned here to provide a context for yesterday's review of Jeff Bridges' recent eponymous album. Where his latest, to my hearing, benefits from the pared-down production and overall simplicity, this decade-old offering is less appealing by comparison because of the more obvious production values - the variation in popier genres, it's sometimes funkier inclinations, and its overall up-tempo skew. Not that this makes it bad; it's just about preference and how a gap of 11 years has seen a confidence in the Bridges voice, no doubt deepened and roughened to maturer gravitas by that time, and the Jeff Bridges focus on song over sonics.
Be Here Soon is still listenable and likeable. Michael McDonald - an acquired taste, but a singer I like - provides occasional harmony and depth, whilst the backing singers and various instrumentation are polished and effective, as you'd expect. What's fascinating is how this album had to be so 'mainstream' in order to appeal, even with the boost of Bridges' popularity and significant fan base at that time, two years after his star role in The Big Lebowski, whereas the recent album - a more instinctive and natural sound - could ride effortlessly on the back of a singing earning credence in the platform and popularity provided through Crazy Heart.
It's about timing as well as talent.