Saturday, December 11, 2010

351. Brothers in Arms. The ugliest band to ever conquer MTV

Artist: Dire Straits
Album: Brothers in Arms
Year: 1985
Genre: Rock

1. So Far Away
2. Money for Nothing
3. Walk of Life
4. Your Latest Trick
5. Why Worry
6. Ride Across the River
7. The Man's Too Strong
8. One World
9. Brothers in Arms

There are lots of people who really, genuinely hate Dire Straits. Their existence during the 80's was enough to make certain people rail with frustration and rage. This is mainly because after the invention of punk, bands like Dire Straits were not supposed to exist. The Sex Pistols and the Clash were supposed to signal the death of traditional stadium rock and roll. The musical revolution in the late seventies should have made extended guitar solos redundant and any song with more than three chords obsolete. Every number in a band's repertoire should have lasted no more than three minutes when played live to audiences who should never number more than 80. Punk had musical integrity and stadium rock didn't. By 1985 Dire Straits were a massive global sensation who sold millions of albums and concert tickets and created videos which seemed to run all the time on MTV. Somehow the musical revolution which was supposed to kill them off created the ideal environment for Dire Straits to flourish.

By 1985 Mark Knopfler and his band had become one of the biggest bands on the planet. Their brand of unassuming Rock and Roll revolving around Knopfler's fluid guitar lines and limited range vocals was moving units and making them rich. Their staple trademark involved long songs with extended instrumentals that became more extended when played live. They'd mastered the huge selling album but hadn't quite perfected the hit single or the major video clip. Money For Nothing proved they could master both formats and Walk of Life proved it wasn't a fluke. Both songs were pretty much everywhere during 1985 and were tracks the whole world heard. There was no escaping them and legions of fans had no desire to.

Personally I think Brothers in Arms is actually Dire Straits weakest moment. Their earlier albums seem to have more fire and I really like some of the songs on their last release but this just seems a bit too stuck in it's time. The simple keyboard vamp of Walk of Life really gets on your nerves quickly and Money for Nothing has a good riff but other than that just seems to be a bit out of place. Personally I prefer them live and while I'm no devotee I quite enjoy Alchemy which showcases all their best earlier work in a live setting.

Recently Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols (who was scathing in his criticism of Dire Straits) reformed his former band in what he admitted was a cynical grab for cash. He's also appeared on celebrity reality shows and features in an advertising campaign for Butter. Knopfler rejected million pound offers to reform Dire Straits because he prefers playing low-key gigs where he can focus on playing what he loves. You tell me who is more about the music?

Highlight: Brothers in Arms
Lowlight: Na na. Na-na Na-na Na-na Na-na.

Influenced by: Jazz and Sting
Influenced: Angy Punks.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review quote: "I can't tell how overrated this CD is. It is very overrated and boring. If you like sexy, overrated, sad, boring noise music buy this."

-Okay you've find it over-rated, yes it's over-rated and boring you said. It's boring, over-rated and sexy. Wait- sexy? Who describes music they don't like as sexy?

So are you pleased to have these Brothers in Arms or would you rather disown the family? Let me know below.

1 comment:

  1. I rather liked the brief history lesson, sir. I was born in 1991 -- the 80s, beyond my parents, VH1 specials, and books about the 80s, are beyond my grasp.

    My apologies -- I can't tell if this review is negative or positive. You like some of their earlier work better, but you end the review in a positive way. Is it mostly indifference, perhaps a hint of respect?

    Also. Wow, Johnny Rotten. I mean, I saw him as a judge for some Battle of the Bands on TV (that never went past one season -- he played the role of Simon Cowell), but that's just lame.