Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits

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Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits
Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits

Album Released: 1985

Brothers in Arms ::: Artwork

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1.So Far Away3:59
2.Money For Nothing7:04
3.Walk Of Life4:12
4.Your Latest Trick4:46
5.Why Worry5:22
6.Ride Across The River6:58
7.The Man's Too Strong4:40
8.One World3:40
9.Brothers In Arms6:55


Sell out! 80's sound! Adult Contemporary! With Brothers in Arms, almost all intentions at 'art' have gone out the window. Up to now, Mark Knopfler had fancied Dire Straits to be a true Art Rock band, but this album is as commercial as Dire Straits could possibly get.

It's like Knopfler took everything that made his band special, and then aimed to sell it to the public as efficiently as possible. The previously glossy instrumental passages and bright production have been turned into Adult Contemporary easy-listening background music.

But I'm not saying this is a bad album - there are plenty of good commercial releases - it's just this isn't as good as Dire Straits' past releases, it's a bit patchy.

I don't understand why Knopfler ran wild with his 'diversity' thang here. These songs are so unlike what he'd done before - they're not bad, but - heh. I don't care much for diversity on an album, in the sense of it having lots of 'styles' or 'genres' on one single disc. So I don't get excited about this album being 'diverse'.

I don't see why I should go wild over "Ride Across the River" for example. How can I describe it - it's got tribal drums, aboriginal flutes, reggae-like drums - it sounds like a tune from that video game Monkey Island II, albeit with guitars and Knopfler's voice over it. It's nice, but not great. And "The Man's Too Strong" is apparently his take on Folk, with its Western-ish guitars and loud blasts of synthesizer. Still, at least it's a solid composition.

Elsewhere, Knopfler juggles between either slight alterations or huge deformations on what he'd been doing up till now. I'm not sure I should approve of the Adult Contemporary sound of "Your Latest Trick" or "Why Worry" - the former with a lazy trombone solo at the beginning, and a saxophone line between verses; and the former with a lengthy instrumental coda with cute electric pianos and guitar licks. Though the saxophone melody is good, "Your Latest Trick" is background music for restaurants and pubs, and whilst "Why Worry" is likewise quite pleasant, it's dangerously close to icky 'optimistic' please-your-mama music - there should be sunshine after rain. Not essential by any means.

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by Reviewer: Fernando Canto (blogging at Sir Mustapha's Album Reviews [Defunct])

With the benefit of hindsight, it's apparent that Dire Straits were the last of the 'Corporate Rock' mega-acts, being a band whose music was radio-friendly, and whose albums had universal appeal in that they transcended age groups as well as national boundaries.

Sure, bands like U2 and R.E.M. were pretty big around the same time as well, but their music appealed to a limited demographic, and so their albums were far from universally embraced.

In contrast, Dire Straits were more akin to The Beatles or latter-day Fleetwood Mac, in that you could be pretty sure that every other house in your street would have at least one of their albums in their record collection. So like them, Dire Straits could genuinely claim to be a 'global' act.

I'd lost track of the music scene during the mid- to late-80's, due to the demands of my job and life in general, so I'd always been under the impression that Brothers in Arms was one of the more notable albums of that time, partly due to it being a top-seller, and partly due to Dire Straits having credentials as a top-flight band.

So one way and another, I'd never got round to listening to Brother in Arms, the only tracks I was familiar with were "Money for Nothing" and "Walk of Life", due to them cropping up on TV and radio, and they'd also appeared on a live album I'd heard.

At long last then - having finally heard this album after so many years - all I can say is ... what a massive disappointment and total letdown it's turned out to be!

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by Reviewer: bluemoon

Brothers in Arms was a massive commercial success ... managing to top even “Sultans of Swing” in popularity, Dire Straits came up with the mega-hit “Money For Nothing”, with its lyrics that famously bash rock stars on MTV (though the song's video was more popular than anything else from the era - oh the irony!).

More important than the song's history though, is the music itself, which is the catchiest Dire Straits had done - the guitar riff is up there with classic Rolling Stones, and the melody is fabulous. The track was such a universally loved song that it’s no wonder that Brothers in Arms was the band's most popular album. But it wasn't the only notable track on the album - there's also the hits “So Far Away” and “Walk of Life”, the former a highly pleasant and melodic New Wave tune that’s perfect for easy-chair listening, the latter with a hopelessly catchy keyboard riff.

Beyond those three openers though, the album’s not nearly as good. After the exciting “Walk of Life” fades out, a horn solo and boring electric piano chords pipe up with the lackluster “Your Latest Trick”. It's not actually a bad song, just decidedly average, turning into a sort of elevator-music jazz saxophone performance. Whilst that was a unique sound for Dire Straits, it surely wasn’t one of their good ideas.

“Why Worry” is a bit better, though still a snoozer, taking the form of a contemplative lullaby - not badly written, but it’s more than 5 minutes long, and way too repetitive. It would've made a perfectly nice 3-minute snoozer.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)