The Vinyl Records: Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms

Artist: Dire Straits
Album: Brothers in Arms
Label: Vertigo
Year: 1985
Cat.: VOG 1 3357

I have always known that I liked Dire Straits, and especially Brothers in Arms, but it was in listening today that I realized how excellent the first side is – how it stands out in the great vat of sound known as “popular music”. Each of the five cuts is unique in tone, style, and emotion – and yet when taken together they form a perfect musical arc, beginning with the upbeat guitar of “So Far Away,” moving into the (dare I say it) epic synth intro to “Money for Nothing,” and then drifting down gradually into one of the most beautiful rock ballads (can we call it that?) “Why Worry.”

Those of you who haven’t seen the movie Local Hero should do so. And those who have seen it will know that the soundtrack is great. It is Mark Knopfler’s debut film soundtrack, and you can hear the echoes of his cinematic experience in the space he creates on Brothers in Arms. The use of synth on this album is really quite effective, with straight forward leads on “Walk of Life” and subtle atmosphere on “Why Worry.”

I certainly haven’t created an exhaustive list in my mind yet, but I know that if I had to choose a few excellent “sides”, Side A of Brothers in Arms would sit next to the first three songs of U2’s The Joshua Tree.