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There is a class of men that I see as both father figures and sex symbols. To say this causes cognitive dissonance and more than a spot of shame would not be incorrect. I don't consider myself an owner of many daddy issues but here we are. Steve Martin is an obvious example of this type of man. Liam Neeson comes to mind. Jeff Bridges is another.
Besides being sexy, Jeff Bridges seems like he’d be the most chill famous person you could possibly hang out with. In addition to acting in some of my favorite movies, he sings, plays guitar, and works as a spokesperson for the No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger.
As part of that campaign, Bridges has released Jeff Bridges Sleeping Tapes, a collection of “intriguing sounds, noises, and other things to help you get a good night’s rest.” You can download the album on DreamingwithJeff.com, paying whatever price you like, with 100 percent of the profits going to No Kid Hungry. You may have seen the commercial during the Super Bowl.
If you like your media to be tangible, you can buy the album on regular vinyl ($50), 180-gram gold-embossed vinyl ($200), or an actual cassette tape ($20). Like the download, all profits go directly to No Kid Hungry, but unlike the download, each physical copy of the Sleeping Tapes comes with vaguely terrifying album art.
After seeing the commercial and making numerous, very funny jokes about "sleeping with Jeff Bridges," I downloaded the tracks and informed my long-suffering husband that on this most magical of nights, we would be lulled off to sleep by The Dude himself.
I expected Sleeping Tapes to be mostly recordings of Jeff playing the didgeridoo, but they are so much more, my friends. They are so much more. They're a little soothing and a little creepy — pretty much what I think hanging out with Bridges would be like.
Let’s go on a journey together, track by track, and see what it’s like to sleep with Jeff Bridges.
Introduction (Good Evening):
The tapes begin with hearty chuckling and lots of sighing. Then there's a bit of Jeff trying to figure out the recording device. He says “sleeping tapes” a lot. A philosophical discussion on the words “sleeping” and “tapes” is held, to eventually arrive at the conclusion that “everything implies everything else.”
Jeff hopes I “dig the sleep tapes.”
I already do.
Sleep. Dream. Wake-Up.
This is basically some wind sounds with Jeff’s altered voice chanting “Sleep, dreamin', wakin' up” and then “You need to sleep so you can dream so you can wake UP.” Bells come in. His voice gets deeper and layered on itself. Then it’s just a long EEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHH sound.
It's a bit nightmarish actually.
(I look over at my husband; he has a "drifting off " face on.)
Chimes for Dreams
This is just your basic chime sounds for the promotion of “cool dreaming.” Standard. Basic. Exactly what you would expect from a tape of this nature.
Jeff interrupts the basic chimes with a yawn. He then bestows upon us the gift of his favorite humming tune that his makeup man “gets a kick out of.” It reminds me less of humming and more of the voice exercises I used to do as a member of a kids performing group. As Jeff gets into the minor keys, I really start to dig it, for there is no sound I love more than a minor key. I start to feel a little sleepy.
My relaxed state is short-lived, for the next sound I hear is the happy cries of children.
There is no sound that relaxes me less than the sound of children. It's not that I hate children and the noises that come out of them, but these noises don't soothe me into a safe and calm mind space; the sound of shouting children puts me on RED ALERT.
I make some comment about this “not being very relaxing” and Sean replies with a sleepy “hmm.” I make a mental note that I will most likely be the one getting up in the middle of the night with our future children.
Good Morning, Sweetheart
Guys! It’s Sue, Jeff's wife of almost four decades! I can imagine that being married to Jeff Bridges since 1977 presents a unique set of hilarious challenges, but I doubt Sue is surprised by much. Somehow I think making a mix-tape of "interesting sounds and noises" falls well within the spectrum of things you would expect Jeff Bridges to do. But even if it's expected, that doesn't mean it's not slightly annoying first thing in the morning.
Like, the last thing I want to do when I wake up is hum into a tape recorder, no matter how charming and Zen and bearded my husband is. “Perhaps you’d like to join me in some humming?" Jeff asks. "No? Come on, sit down here.”
“Are you talking to someone?” Mrs. Bridges asks.
After they establish that Jeff is working on his Sleeping Tapes, he tries to enlist her in the artistic process.
“What kind of nice, relaxing sounds might you want to share?”
Sue offers no sounds, but I imagine she is offering up great side eye. Jeff presses on. “I just woke up. I just woke up,” she says, before Jeff manages to coax a little hum out of her, which he promptly hum shames.
“I’m gonna go over here …. ”
I’m not totally sure how this made it on the final cut, but I’m glad it did.
See You at the Dreaming Tree
Oh cool, more children. Except this time, Jeff is talking to the children about dreams, and it’s actually pretty cute. It’s hard to make out entire conversations — there are a lot of other noises like squeaky birds and discordant musical instruments — but the overall effect is adorable.
Jeff tells the kids about meeting his daughter at a special "dreaming tree" in their sleep, and I somehow feel dirty for being attracted to him.
(Sean and both of our dogs are now snoring. The cat is awake and standing on my abdomen. I am obviously not sleeping.)
A Glass of Water
“Alright you comfy? Alright. Alright you want a glass of water? Here.”
Damn it. Now I'm thirsty, and it is a thirst that dream water cannot cure. So thanks, Bridges.
After the offering of dream water, there is some discussion about the challenges unique to before-bed water consumption. (Peeing.) “But that’s okay,” Jeff explains “It’s nice to get up in the middle of the night. You know, you pass the window, you see the full moon out there. On the way to the toilet you’re noticing the patterns on the rug; it can be a good experience anyway. I get off the track here.”
And that’s pretty much the end of that talk.
We are then instructed to get cozy for some bedtime stories, and I am very excited.
I think this is going to be a short and sweet tale about a raven at the top of a tree, but really it’s about an oncoming storm that’s going to “boil the wheat” and freak the bejesus out of our horses. (But hey cool, I've got some dream horses.)
Here we have some ramblings about a tenor player who loved Silly Putty “You know, that kid’s stuff,” Jeff Says. Spoiler alert: This track is called The Hen because this guy carried around a bunch of Silly Putty, which comes in those little plastic eggs.
Jeff Bridges has never struck me as the type of man who goes to IKEA. Jeff Bridges seems like the type of guy who would build you a dresser — nay, an armoire — out of some shipping pallets that were "perfectly good." "They were just going to throw them out!" he'd exclaim, "perfectly functional pieces of wood!"
This track is less about the Swedish furniture emporium and more about Jeff Bridge’s final resting place. He tells us, in an electronically altered and kind of creepy voice, that his remains will be stored aboard a satellite, forever looping around the planet, flashing a light whenever it passes a memorable location like “that bar in Redondo Beach where we first met” or “IKEA.”
Like I said, I hadn't pegged Jeff as an IKEA person, so I am really curious about why his coffin-among-the-stars would flash above one. Maybe he likes their meatballs.
This track is basically my Jeff Bridges fan fiction, come to life and narrated by The Dude himself. It ends with a kiss, which is great for listeners like myself, but maybe slightly off-putting for my husband.
(But that's a moot point, as Sean is asleep. These tapes are really working for him.)
This is the longest track on the tapes and is frankly a delight. It’s a guided mind-tour/mind-hike of Temescal Canyon and is full of great imagery. You've got running sap, Spanish doubloons, stray dogs, a dude named “Neil,” a “pretty nice looking” office chair, which Jeff drags around for most of the hike.
I don’t want to spoil the journey for you, so I’ll end my description here and just tell you that it’s the only track that made me at all sleepy. (My Keys was almost relaxing, but took a sudden turn for "arousing" at the end there.)
It's time for Daily Affirmation with Jeff Bridges. During this segment of the tapes, Jeff says a lot of really nice things about me, but my top three would have to be “I like your haircut” — I just got one! How did he know? — “you smell nice,” and “you order well at restaurants.”
All of those things are absolutely correct.
Seeing With My Eyes Closed
In this track, Jeff sounds far away as he begins to describe what it’s like to see with one’s eyes closed. As Jeff wonders if the images he’s seeing are a function of his eyes or a function of his mind, it begins to feel kind of like the “what if the colors I see are different than the colors you see conversation” we've all had while drunk or high at some point.
An increasingly high-pitched and frantic sound starts this track off. It's a bit mechanical, but I also hear running water, and Jeff reveals that we have been listening to the sound of the toilet filling, which he loves.
Jeff then instructs that we are not asleep yet, that we should “fire the thing up again.” I do not do this.
The whole thing concludes with a little plug for No Kid Hungry because “kids, they’re us. They’re us in the future.”
“We’re all in this together,” he repeats over and over, each “together” more distorted, accompanied by creepy old-timey circus music.
I am not asleep.