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Brothers In Arms - Dire Straits
Member Name: cyberem78
Brothers In Arms - Dire Straits
Date: 28/02/10, updated on 28/02/10 (55 review reads)
Advantages: Great music and lyrics, unique voice.
Disadvantages: Some serious issues in the songs' themes can be a downer.
This is the fifth album released in 1985 by Dire Straits and I would call it their masterpiece. As one of the best selling British albums of all time it's an album that is still critically acclaimed today and it is frequently shortlisted by experts in the music business as being one of the best albums ever produced. For those who are unfamiliar with the band lead vocalist and guitarist Mark Knopfler has a dark and almost deadbeat kind of voice. Sometimes he half-mumbles the words, sometimes he belts them out in a mid-Atlantic accent and drunken hobo drawl. He has a unique style and vocal tone and every song on this album is a perfect fit with his voice.
'So Far Away' is a great song for chilling out to and has a really relaxed style. I think this track has that 1980's romance movie soundtrack kind of feel. It is a song that charms you because it can make you feel calm and at ease. The percussion performs as a soft hi-hat clicking and the guitars have a smoky, tired style. It's not a song that is particularly stunning on it's own but it's a brilliant way to open this album as it makes us appreciate the warm voice of the lead singer and the intimate, meaningful instrumentals.
'Money for Nothing' is one of the band's better known tracks and this in part was helped by Sting's contribution to the song. Sting's refrain of "I want my MTV" has a haunting and almost creepy effect at the opening of the track. This follows with dramatic drums and guitars that have something important to contribute. Knopfler's vocals are performed with gusto and there is a slightly gung-ho or comedic tone to them. Sting also joins in further on in the song and his light and airy voice is a nice antidote to Knopfler's deep-pitched and grouchy voice. The lyrics are clever, sardonic and insightful and are similar in style to early Fish-penned Marillion tracks. A very catchy and entertaining track with lots of different sounds and meanings to rediscover each time you play it.
'Walk of Life' is a upbeat track whose happy tune you'll pick up before the hipster influenced lyrics. It's kind of a mix of new and old as it definately has an old school 1950's rock and roll feel to it. Knopfler's mid-western drawl is great for just slinging the lyrics around. He sounds like a real cool guy on this song! Definately a song that'll put a smile on your face and have you toe-tapping in no time!
'Your Latest Trick' is a song whose saxophone melody steals the limelight. It's a beautiful and memorable composition, sexy but tinged with sadness and it frames the song. Knopfler's vocals sound dusty and old and are perfect at representing the lyrics. The voice weaves a compelling story and the music captures the atmosphere of this story perfectly. I really feel like I'm pulled into this imaginary world when I hear this song. Fantastic track.
'Why Worry' is a gentle, reassuring song. The guitars have a tangled romance and are like an echo to the main vocal. The beginning of the song has a lullabuy kind of style which makes me feel the message is rather more a father to a daughter rather than a lover to his other half, although either could be valid. It's a lovely song that makes me feel warm and safe. The latter half of the song has a slightly indulgent instrumental section that sounds a bit like the random turns old time Genesis songs used to feature.
'Ride Across the River' has a theme of war (which is also explored in other songs on the album). Here the lyrics have a bold style and in the persona of the song there is a pride in his having to fight. Brass instrumentals sounds like the fanfare of war and the chorus is a promise of success in battle. The music and sound effects pull us into the landscape where this soldier is living and fighting. To me there is a Native American Indian feeling to the song as there is a high degree of pan-piped music and wistful, spiritual melodies that seem appropriate to this culture.
'The Man's Too Strong' is has a country rock feel. The guitars and drums hit out quite heavily at the chorus but hte verses are softer and more folk based. The character in the track is a dark and complicated soul and the mean spirited lyrics really bring him to life. Perhaps not the most compelling melody but wonderful words.
'One World' has the most 'rock' style on the album. It is a sexy, slick track that has a sharp percussion beat, slippy guitars and a bad boy vocal style. The lyrics express dissatisfaction with life and there is talk of needing an "antidote to blues". It's a short track that fades away before it really has the chance to imprint itself on your memory though.
'Brothers In Arms' is actually the song that made me buy this album. I first heard it featured in an episode of 80's classic show Miami Vice where it was used to signify a character's tragic story and it literally had me in tears. The track has serious and intelligent themes which are war, it's effect on those involved, fraternity and spiritual recovery. The lyrics are written from a soldier's perspective as they undergo their "baptisms of fire" and the ideas transmitted are heart-wrenching. It's lyrically stunning - like a poem, an intimate diary entry or the words captured as they surface in a suffering heart. The music has a dusky, slow and sad style which conjures up the lonesome landscapes where armies are forced into combat. It's a rather haunting track and I can't hear it too often as I find it quite upsetting but it's a brilliant track.
I would definately recommend getting this album and I mean the whole thing not just download a couple of tracks. This really needs to be enjoyed as a whole album experience. Once you start to play this album from track one you won't want to stop listening until the very end of the album, trust me!
Summary: Fantastic classic album.