Brothers In Arms – Dire Straits – 1985
First listen?: Yes
The only album in the top 10 I knew absolutely nothing about, I couldn’t have named a single song by the Dire Straits, who any of the members were or even what they sounded like. It was quite nice to go back to a fully fresh take on an act on this list, especially given the albums still to come. The only song I recognise is Money For Nothing, a collaboration with Sting which couldn’t sound more 80s rock if it tried. The 2 minutes long intro before that guitar kicks in for the well known hook is suitably indulgent. There’s a reason the album didn’t hold back on the self indulgent intros, as it was the first record designed purely at the CD market. It was the very first album to sell 1 million copies on CD and is widely seen as the driving force behind the switch from Vinyl to CD. The thing that surprises me is that there’s nothing too innovative or striking about Brothers In Arms as an album. I went in expecting it to all be as upbeat as Money For Nothing, more like Sting or The Police to make an obvious comparison. What’s here though is some pretty chilled, but solid pop rock tracks. There are moments like the country swing of Walk Of Life, but the rest is like the acoustic guitar of Why Worry? that develops into an 8 minute slow jam. It’s not quite prog rock, more like prog pop. Full of hooks but with enough space in between for the music to bleed out into something completely different a few minutes later. Ride Across The River is one of the best examples of this, with its brassy chorus before it becomes consumed by a chill out groove by the end. Out of context Brothers In Arms is an interesting listen, one that I enjoyed, but didn’t really leave me feeling anything. Compared to some of the classics in this top 10 it feels a bit out of place, a bit simple perhaps, despite being very interesting and diverse at points.
Will I listen again?: Probably not.
Best Track: I quite enjoyed Ride Across The River.