Dire Straits - Making Movies - NL.18.4.120
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Now on CD, Making Movies feels like a classic, sort of a West Side Story for the 1980's with stories about love, passion and teenage angst, opening with the impressive and ambitious Tunnel Of Love, while the opening chords and lyrics of Romeo & Juliet were amazing at the time and still today, they resonate with lyrical beauty and oft-quoted lines.
They're all fine tracks, the distinctive tinkling of the ivories from Springsteen's keyboardist, Roy Bittan, adding an extra, welcome dimension. Even the awkward fish out of water, Les Boys, which is often seen as an anticlimax end track, is pretty good, 'Cabaret' style, with swing and style that perfectly evokes the gay scene in Berlin, that it's about. Not so rock and roll but hats off to Mark for not only writing it but getting it on the album.
A few have mentioned the poor CD quality and as it's been a long time I've been able to play LPs, at least in pristine condition, it's impossible to compare, but would have to admit, there is a slight mid-range mush which during loud sections allows the otherwise clear sounds to clog up. Mark's rocky vocals in Solid Rock get muffled and indistinct because of this.
Fortunately Dire Straits were wise enough to change their style from album to album, instead of churning out the same stuff, conveyor-belt style, simply because it worked - and sold. Therefore, each studio album is unique but also will have different fans. I would say that Making Movies is amongst their top three, not the best, nor worse, but different.
The band had to re-invent themselves after a dodgy patch involving a half-empty second US tour and David Knopfler leaving half-way through the recording of this album. The results, though, were a real step up for the band. Mark Knopfler's songwriting moved into a completely different league to that on display on the previous two records. He'd also started taking control of the production with this album too. It's his vision from start to finish.
"Tunnel of Love", the eight-minute opener, moves around like one of the twisters he sings about. The long guitar solo ended up becoming a highlight of the live show and is still an example of how to write innovative guitar music. It's just a great song.
The commercial highlight comes early on in the form of "Romeo and Juliet", which was a successful Top Ten hit here in the UK. The lyrics are standard fare but the whole song works well. The dynamics are excellent, the ebb and flow help the story along.
"Skateaway" is a very American sounding early-eighties pop song. It was a single in the US, but listening to it now, it seems to be stuck in that time. There are some nice ideas (a strong melody, for a start) and Pick Withers' drumming is as impressive as ever.
"Expresso Love" is probably the most sexist song in Knopfler's notepad. There's some good riffing going on, but those lyrics...! "I was made to go with this girl just like the saxophone was made to go with the night." Hello? Just... NO!Read more ›
This review is about the current CD (1996). I wouldn't normally bother, but ten years should be ample time for Vertigo to have come to their senses and done something about it.
So what's the problem with this? Well, if you want that classic late-night-empty-ballpark sound, buy "Love over Gold" crack open a really decent Remy (ice cubes if you really must, personally I wouldn't), turn the lights down and the volume to eleven. Enjoy. If, however, you want something that sounds like it was given to the teaboy to play with as his first mix, buy this.
I can't emphasize just how much this isn't the original Making Movies. It once had a wonderful feel of intimacy about it. On here it's, well, gone. Imagine seeing an old friend after a while and discovering they've taken to wearing makeup and a bad wig. You know the real person is under there, somewhere, but you just can't get the garishness out of your mind.
So now I've picked up the sleeve, and found out that the truly great Bob Ludwig is the guilty party. I'm somewhat shocked by this, but I have to ask Bob, why? You know what you're doing, heck, you must be a multi millionaire by now and I just record the occasional band for fun. It's not my name on any number of classic albums of the last thirty years, it's yours.
But I'm not deaf, and neither are you, so why on earth didn't you just line up on the tone and leave the faders alone and the outboard gear just out?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Completed my Dire Straits collection and remastered it sounded excellent.Published 3 months ago by Michael Belsten
Arrived quickly and safely, 100% as described, good 5* seller, helping put one more dire starits cd towards my increasing collection, nice album, but I am totally biased!Published 5 months ago by AnonymousDrone
Be Careful: The copy currently being sold isn't the REMASTERED version from 1996 but the earlier version presented in the new packaging! Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mr. D. W. R. Garner