Customer Review

38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An era-defining classic., 27 Sep 2006
This review is from: Brothers In Arms - 20th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)
Trust Mark Knopfler not to succumb to platitude, regardless where he is and what's going on around him. There they are sitting on the Caribbean island paradise of Montserrat, and what does the man write? Songs about the pain of separation, love gone wrong and The Blues in general ("So Far Away," "Your Latest Trick," "Why Worry" and "One World"), a part tongue-in-cheek, part grating duet with Sting, who just happened to be available because he was vacationing on Montserrat, on an underdog's gripes about rock stardom ("Money For Nothing"), followed by a more upbeat variation on the "stardom" theme (although even there, we are reminded that "after all the violence and double talk, there's just a song in all the trouble and the strife, you do the Walk Of Life") ... and no less than three songs about war and the abuse of power ("Run Across The River," "The Man's Too Strong" and of course, "Brothers in Arms").

Musically, this album is more diversified than Dire Straits' prior studio albums; there's a sax in "Your Latest Trick," "Walk Of Life" has a rockabilly feel, and the instrumentation of "Run Across the River" is inspired by the Caribbean setting in which the record was produced -- but listen to that song's lyrics and see how they contrast with what at first impression sounds like airy island paradise melodies: "I'm a soldier of fortune, I'm a dog of war and we don't give a damn who the killing is for; it's the same old story with a different name -- death or glory, it's the killing game." ("The Man's Too Strong," which deals with a dictator's thoughts upon being brought to trial, is similar in that respect; although the Caribbean sound is replaced by rhythm and steel guitars, with two single guitar riffs, sharp as bullets, accentuating the chorus.) The band also took full advantage of the advances in production techniques available to them at that time. The result was an album that drove home to even the last uninitiated chump out there that Dire Straits were a musical force to reckon with, and that the success of their prior albums had not been coincidence alone. And the SACD drives this home even more forcefully ... (to the extent this is even possible).

Among all the excellent songs on this album, it is the title track which stands out mile-high. From the growling thunderstorm opening, the sad and evocative electric guitar intro, and the first verse, more whispered than sung, through the slow and steady crescendo of the song's intensity to the closing guitar solo, Mark Knopfler's ode about war, in ancient Scotland and today, "civil" and otherwise, is nothing short of a true masterpiece. The interplay of Knopfler's vocals and his guitar. The sole riff introducing the guitar part after the line "and we have just one world but we live in different ones," tearing through the song's fabric like a sore wound breaking open. And of course, the closing guitar solo which completely defies description and makes any attempt to characterize it by words like "haunting" or "dramatic" sound like a shallow cliché.

"Brothers in Arms" was Dire Straits' most successful studio album, and one of the biggest-selling albums of the 1980, thanks to an exhaustive tour and the high exposure its single releases received on MTV. But more than anything, it helped define a decade; musically and otherwise. It has made rock music history, and it will always stand right up there with the best that anybody in the business has ever produced.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 May 2009 01:46:45 BDT
Thank U So Much, 4 A More Than Beautiful "Haunting" & "Dramatic" :-) Super-Exciting Review... It Really Touched Me Deeply... Thanks Again... Ps. I`m Sorry 4 My Poor English.. I`m A "Poor" Educated (Un-Educated) Dane... .-) Best Wishes 2 U... Adwan K. A. Birksgard

Posted on 6 Aug 2010 11:07:46 BDT
BD says:
It is not often I comment on a review but I enjoyed reading yours. I recently took delivery of the SACD edition of this album and was considering posting my own review of this classic album, but after reading your review don't think I will bother, as I think you have summed it up very well. Many reviews I have read from top 1000\500\100\50\10 contributors can at times be bland blatantly positive review padding with scant detail of the actual product in question in order to gain easy votes, in fact I would sometimes question if the reviewer has any actual experience of the the item at all. Your review has the feel of somebody who genuinely loves the album, and reminded me of my own review of the Love over Gold album. I am currently top a 1000 reviewer who focuses on genuine content and credibility, it is nice to read a review who is taking the same approach, all the best, BD.
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