Album Review: Tried Relaxing by Reading Room

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Hitting play on Tried Relaxing, Reading Room’s debut album, is the closest you’ll get to feeling like you’re in your own coming-of-age movie.

Self-described as “lounge music,” Boston’s very own Reading Room consists of Chris on guitar/vocals, Braeden on drums, and Jacob on bass. With this most recent addition to their discography, Tried Relaxing, listeners can quickly feel deeply connected to the band’s history as they get to watch and seemingly help create it. 

The album consists of ten songs, each of which showcases its own story in a unique way. All of these tracks are perfect for studying or lounging around your room on a rainy day if you can resist letting escapism take over your mind. With the right headphones and cup of coffee, this album will have you feeling like you’re in a daydream. The opening track “Sympathy,” sets up the atmosphere to look forward to for the rest of the album. With the track being just above a minute long, it gives a little taste, but it’s enough that listeners will be wanting more. With soft spoken lyrics that leave you wondering what story you are about to embark on, the whimsical chord progression eases you in that new daydream world you have found yourself in. You can easily let the world slip away and allow yourself to escape for just a little while. 

Following “Sympathy” is “Long Bridge”, if you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re in a movie montage, this is the song you’ve been looking for. With powerful lyrics and a longer run time, you get a glimpse into the writer’s mind. This track is a bit faster paced but still keeps the mellow vibe that “Sympathy” set up for us. This song seemingly tells a story about mentally running from a problem that itches at the subject’s mind. The lyrics “don’t think twice, don’t think at all, don’t look back, don’t look at all” gives this feeling of running away or witnessing the subject within the song run away from the problem at hand. “I’ll move to Austin, but I will not solve the problem. I’m running from it” is one of the most relatable lines, making one think about the lengths they will go to run from something instead of just taking it head on. 

Continuing to run away and move down the track-list of our personal daydream soundtrack, we stop at “Job” and “Make Do”. The two songs purposely flow perfectly from one into the other, and if you’re stuck in your own world you won’t even realize that one ended and the other began. “Job” starts off with the subject being on a train and arriving at their lover’s door, but by morning they are gone. This song features a change in tone compared to the other tracks, with a low raspy voice touching on a feeling that a lot of people can relate to. The feeling of being with a love momentarily but needing to be gone by morning for personal reasons. 

The last song to note is “Keystone”. Being the longest track on the album, “Keystone,” stands in at just above five minutes long, but the upbeat change of pace is exactly what you need at this point in the track-list. As the album begins to wrap up, the tone shifts to one of reflection and ease. In this song, though, Reading Room repeatedly states, “have you ever tried relaxing?” It almost feels like a call out. The song is upbeat and makes you want to dance around your room with your coffee in hand and yet the message almost feels like a call to realization. The repeated chords easily get stuck in your head and it’s hard not to do a small dance to them as they play at the end of the song. 

Arriving at the end of the track set, you open your eyes and come back to the real world only to click on “Sympathy” and start the daydream all over again.

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