George Starostin's Reviews



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Glenn Wiener <> (24.09.2001)

Certainly a talented band in a unique way. Truthfully these guys(or should I say Knophler) grew quite a bit over their careers. Started out as a stylish non volume oriented guitar band. Then with Making Movies and Lover Over Gold came the atmosphere and more pronounced piano sounds. A decent live album followed and then the guys wanted their MTV and indulged in some creative uses of the synthesizer on Brothers In Arms. The brief reunion with On Every Street somewhat duplicated Brothers In Arms with a few more jazz flavorings. Some originality here and there but certainly plenty of atmosphere to get you through some of those laid back tunes. A qua;ity band indeed.

Tony Souza <> (26.09.2001)

I pretty much agree with your assessment of Dire Straits. The good points for me are Knopfler's playing, his underrated songwriting and the musicians he has surrounded himself with. Every DS release has at least a few good-to-very-good songs on them. However, my main problem with the band (or more to the point, Knopfler) is that a lot of the music is dull and lifeless (the "Love over Gold" - "Private Investigations" segment from the live album Alchemy is a good example that George pointed out). Some of his songs are the aural equivalent of a sleeping pill. Despite this, there are still many fine moments on most of DS's records. I feel that one of the reasons the first record is still so well liked is that at that time even though Knopfler still ran the show, Dire Straits were still a band, and not Knopfler-with-a-bunch-of-other-guys like it later became. There was a certain group dynamic on the first album that resonates in the music. This would diminish with each album.

Alexander Charushin <> (23.09.2002)

I can't call myself a Dire Straits fan, because being a fan of anything means having a shifted perception, something that I am trying to steer clear off. But I really enjoy most of their records, as well as other Knopfler stuff like Notting Hill Billies and Golden Heart, Sailing to Philadelphia and Metroland soundtrack bits. That's why I'm not sharing all George's views (for instance, I wouldn't call Communique a dull record) but I very much appreciate the cleverness of the reviews. I am generally fond of English North-East and that area'a musical culture in particular, and here I want to clarify one minor issue. 'Down to the Waterline' is very much what George says about it; but it's not the reflections of Thames dark water that the tune should revive in one's mind. Unlike 'Single Handed Sailor', 'Down to the Waterline' sings praise to another rolling deep, 'the coaly Tyne'. The song is about Newcastle where Mark spent his young years, and its very likely that so many times he would be running down the 'Dogleap Stairs' (name of a pedestrian stairway leading down to the waterline) to the Quayside (not just a quayside), where some 'sweet surrender' might be awaiting him : )

Sridhar Ponnada <> (22.07.2005)

I read your review on Dire Straits with some interest. Being a big fan of Dire Straits, I recently attended a live concert of Mark Knopfler in Bangalore and was seriously disappointed. All those great songs sounded lousy when he played them live..some thoughts on that show:

a) Aging rockstar who didn't have the energy to connect with the crowd..he had to sit down occassionally and had to sip cold tea constantly

b) The lyrics were incomprehensible even for the well known songs

c) Music was technically flawed i.e less divine than the studio versions..he tried to make up with improvisation and some santana-like soloing..which was good as far as it went..

d) He was trying more of Mark Knopler songs rather than Dire Straits(he missed out Lady Writer,Calling Elvis..the worst miss was 'Heavy Fuel'..for the really cool "high" junta kept screaming for 'Heavy Fuel' to no avail.)

I think from now on I will stick to his studio versions.. regards

Hana <> (11.03.2006)

Hello, George. First I would like to tell you, that I'm not even 20+ years old and really like Dire Straits. They absolutelly suit my musical taste, so I have forgiven them their lackness of diversity, as you call it.

The only thing I haven't forgiven them is Les Boys from Making Movies, it's something completely different and I don't like its style. It really ruins the album, you're right - it's terrible, after Solid Rock, which belongs to my top favourites (and that means something when I say it about a DS song, because I like them nearly all).

I agree with you about Single Handed Sailor from Communique, it is really the best song on the album. It has the mood you expected from the whole album - and didn't find it there, as you write. But I like the album. It really isn't very original, comparing with the other albums, but it is Dire Straits. For those who love their music it is good example of their beginning. Maybe little bit boring for those who like something closer to real rock, or something closer to pop on the other side. But the minimalistic sound of News - have you noticed that? It seems to me to be perfect.

The music is great. I don't know many other rock bands, in fact, but from what I have heard, Dire Straits are my favourites. As I wrote, they suit my musical taste more than anything else. It has nothing to do with objective comparing their qualities with other bands. And you cannot deny Knopfler's guitar. It is the main reason why I also don't like Sultans of Swing playing in radio - they usually cut off that amazing final solo...

I cannot judge lyrics too much, because I'm not English speaking and am not sure whether I understand them right (they are rather complicated). But I think Knopfler is really good at them, because he uses all the treasure of his own language, as far as I can see.

The reason why Dire Straits are seen as "Knopfler and those guys playing with him" can be caused by the fact, that he was the only one who wrote the songs. But, according to questions and answers on Guy Fletcher's web page, I think the arrangement was beeing made by the whole band.

After all, I would like to thank you for the work you must have done creating such a long comment on the band. Although I don't agree with some of your opinions, it's nice to find someone interested in my favourite band. There are many people who adore them, but not so many, who don't and yet are able to give them so much of their time. I believe they're worth it. Their music is of that kind you must get used to. But when you do, it's not so easy to leave them behind just like they never existed.

And sorry for such a long comment. Not as long as yours.


Glenn Wiener <> (23.10.2000)

I can't quite call this new wave or raw guitar rock but this CD showcases amusic with a style of its own. It has some blues and a touch of country and folk but however you want to classify it, the music sounds honest and true. Truthfully 'In The Galery' is a much better track that the slow laboring 'Water Of Love'. The guitar riffs and rhythms are captivating on that particular track as I feel you have ignored its value to the record. 'Down To The Waterline', 'Setting Me Up', and 'Sultans of Swing' showcase more of the great guitar talents of Mark Knophler and even brother David on rhythm for that matter.

Lyolya Svidrigajlova <> (01.01.2000)

[Dare to comment upon my favourite band - finally... A bit scary...]

[Shame on me! Really... I didn't find yet the debut album by my favourite band... So, those will be more the general comments...]

First of all, the guys weren't that young (at least, in the dimensions of rock'n'roll) when they began to perform. This explains many things... Let me begin with their drawbacks (not to sound like a crazy fan which doesn't want to see any drawbacks in his favourite band).

1. Yes, they are a bit repetitive. Must admit. That's why some people find them boring.

2. Yes, they are not so damn innovative. [Ah, anyway, I'm not the one who cares too much for innovativeness...]

3. Ah, another complaint. They sometimes put the same song in several albums. Even if it is a good song, it sometimes can be boring to sit through the same songs from one album to another.

4. They are the fine example of a "one-man-band". Mark is a total leader.

5. They don't exist anymore... [or it is not a drawback?]

[this part was really hard for me... now, let's go to the highlights...]

1. Emotional? Yes. No doubt. Gee! Mark's voice sometimes sounds as if he was ashamed of his own singing! That's funny...

2. Sincere? No doubt. [I agree with Glenn Wiener. In fact, I don't have another choice...]

3. Good musicians? Maybe not virtuosos (I don't know, I can't define whether this or that musician is a virtuoso), but good, for sure. They also have a rich music texture: apart from Mark's guitar, also nice keyboards and nice saxophone.

4. Identity? No doubt. Whatever style they take, should it be blues ('Sultans Of Swing', etc), country ('The Man's Too Strong', etc), classic rock'n'roll or even boogie-woogie ('The Bug', 'Walk Of Life', 'Twisting By The Pool') or anything else, it all sounds Dire Straits. They just mollify it a little bit and...

5. Any band which combines nice, likeable music with good lyrics is all right with me...

6. In my opinion, Dire Straits are a terrific live band. They combine the pure feeling of live performance with the improvisation. Just compare the live version of "Calling Elvis" with the studio version, for instance... That doesn't mean that their studio records are bad... no, they just don't reflect all the feeling...

7. Mark doesn't seem to be a guy who worries too much about fashion. He just does what he likes and doesn't worry too much about whether people will consider his music "retro" or not. On the other hand, he doesn't seem to show no care for the people who listen to him, his music is usually likeable and non-offensive. "A golden middle". It pisses some people off. Not me. Music for old people? Not only, of course. I know one kid who's three years old and who likes them. [ah, truthfully, she's my daughter and maybe the genes are the reason...] Music not for everybody? Alas, Dire Straits were never intended to please everybody. Anyway, there is no music for everybody...

8. They have such a funny title! (that's a joke)

9. My father says it's the best event ever in his life, and I can't contradict my father or he'll give me a boot (that's another silly joke)

10. They did one of rare lovesongs that don't piss me off but instead, bring me to tears ("Romeo and Juliet"). This is NOT a joke. The ultimate truth about Dire Straits is that they are not supposed to make crazy fanatics.

[I mean, those who scream out loud: "Wow! Wow!!!!!! That's cool! That's cool!!!!!!!" Their fan is more likely to sound something like: "wuuuuuuuuuwww.... that's coooooooooool..." (tender, gentle, quietly and peacefully)... Or I may be wrong...]

Tim <> (02.09.2005)

Great review of the eponymous first record, but there's one thing I'd like to correct: 'Down To The Waterline' is set on the Tyne River in Newcastle, not the Thames. I lived there for a year, and any true Dire Straits fan absolutely must visit the Dogleap Stairway (as well as the Spanish City, Cullercoats, and Whitley Bay, all namechecked later in Tunnel Of Love).


Glenn Wiener <> (23.10.2000)

Dire Straits does not stray much from the formula for the first record. The songs are little more folky and softer sounding and overall not quite as good as the first batch. None the less the record is a pleasant listen. 'Single Handed Sailor' and 'Once Upon A Time in The West' have some pretty guitar riffs. and 'Lady Writer' is pretty bouncy and cheerful.

Ward <> (27.10.2000)

I would say you are being a tad harsh on this album, George. True, like most 'second/follow-up albums' it suffers from time pressures and not having a lifetime's experience to draw from (most of that having been put into the first album). I think side 1 is great, and easily better than everything put out under the Dire Straits moniker after 1984. There's a nice mood set, which unfortunately "Lady Writer" ruins. (Yes, it's a rewrite, but a better rewrite than "What's The Matter Baby" on the BBC set.) "Single-Handed Sailor" awful, but "Portobello Belle" is more than lovely. "Follow Me Home" is easy to ignore. This album does work well as mood music, which perhaps one's not supposed to enjoy too closely. (Didn't they say that about RAM?) They would do better with Making Movies.

Lyolya Svidrigajlova <> (01.01.2000)

Ah... yes, everything you said, George, seems to be very close to truth... The second album is very often similar to the first one and it often shows the most particular drawbacks of the band/artist. Anyway, to my ear, "Communique", "Once upon a time in the west" and "Angel of mercy" (even if it is "a pure Dylan rip-off") sound very likeable. And I find the Communique version of "Portobello belle" more likeable than the version of the same song on Money for nothing. Well, my favourite is "Where do you think you're going" (that's something from my childhood, in fact) but the version of the same song on Money for Nothing seems to me more likeable. Not that it's a great album but still, if it would be a first Dire Straits album for the one who likes this kind of music (in other words, taken out of context) - it may even appear a very good one.


Rich Bunnell <> (17.01.2001)

This is the album where Dire Straits starts becoming interesting for me. Come to think of it, though, they stopped becoming interesting again almost immediately afterwards. So, for my own purposes, let's call it "their only interesting album." I know how much you love the chugging, minimalistic stuff on the first album, George, but I personally think that it showed what a great songwriter Knopfler could be when he finally fleshed out his arrangements. Ironically, however, the best song on the album is the sole exception to that "fleshed-out" rule, "Skateaway." Now that's a friggin' song. Yes, the drums are electronically altered, but they manage to work towards the song rather than against it. Imagine the song with normal, acoustic drums - it would render the song boring and average. Very close in quality is the excellent guitar epic "Tunnel Of Love"(if Springsteen sounds like this, maybe I've been misjudging him for years), and "Expresso Love" and "Solid Rock" are both fun, let-em-loose rockers. However, I'm not going to try to deny that "Les Boys" is offensive, boring and dinky - why was that song written? To make sure that no Dire Straits album would be consistent the whole way through? Nevertheless, this is easily my favorite album by the band, and I'd give a really high 8/10.

Glenn Wiener <> (29.01.2001)

This is my personal favorite of all recordings by this band. The songs consistently rock a little more than prior or subsequent releases and the lyrics are quite catchy. 'Tunnel of Love' is easily the best song on this batch due to the shifts in tone and atmosphere. The guitar stylings are grade A. Personally, I don't find 'Les Boys' to be a bad song in anyway. Its kind of unique at least the song rhythm. I think what people don't like about the song is that it deals with the gay population.

Mikey <> (28.01.2001)

I' m writing to comment on Dire Straits' Making Movies. Actually, it's one of my favorite. I don't really care about "Les Boys" or maybe "Expresso love", but the rest is totally fantastic. However, it was the album that first seemed quite boring for me. "Tunnel of love" seemed too long, "Hand in Hand" melodyless, "Romeo and Juliet" too mawkish. It may take a while to appreciate the beauty of each note of Knopfler's guitar and the emotional baggage on each song.

An absolute classic is "Tunnel of love". It takes me away so deeply that it doesn't feel like more than 4 minutes long. This song has everything: very interesting lyrics, perfect riffs and just incredible solo. It's interesting that most Dire Straits songs are most breathtaking in the end, when Knopfler drops the mic and uses his guitar to sing out what words couldn't express. I can't think of anyone whose guitar could convey as much emotion as Knopfler's.

Another perfect song is "Romeo and Juliet". I didn't find it interesting until I attempted to play it on my guitar and tried to catch every note. I have to pay tribute to Knopfler that unlike most rock lyricists, he can write very interesting lyrics merely about love.

After all, I think this album is equal to Dire Straits. Although it does not have as many good songs, the songs are in most cases more interesting than those on their debut album. Besides, "Tunnel of love" deserves 10 itself, so I'd give it 13.

Greg Quinn <> (03.10.2002)

I've rediscovered this album a couple of times since I purchased it and am astonished at how good it still sounds 22 years after its release. I agree with the previous post - "Tunnel of Love" ranks as my favorite song. It chugs, it soars, it screams, it whispers. The perfect rock song, I'm glad it's eight minutes long! The other songs are terrific, also, although none are what I would consider "all-time classics". "Skateaway" is a great driving song and different than anything I have heard from Dire Straits before or since - Knopfler plays funk!. Roy Bittan of the E-Street Band adds a lot to this album, and gives some of the songs that Springsteen-esque feel. They lyrics are evocative in a similar way to "Born to Run" - people struggle to connect while they struggle to survive. Knopfler's songwriting strength is his knack for capturing the vernacular, much like Springsteen. Obviously, the Dylan comparisons were made at the time of Dire Straits first album, although I think that's more due to Knoplfer's voice than his songwriting style. Knopfler's songwriting is less cryptic and allegorical than Dylan's. As for "Les Boys", I think it's a witty and poignant take on homosexuality and the legacy of Germany's Nazi past, two topics that are seldom tackled in the world of album-oriented rock. If you only buy one Dire Straits album, buy Making Movies.


Glenn Wiener <> (24.09.2001)

Some sheer beauty on this release. Five songs but all of them are winners. Each piece is very symphonic with the exception of 'Industrial Disease' which is just a playful romp. The title track and 'Telegraph Road' are just loaded with creativity. And the minimalism on 'Private Investigations' works just splendidly. Very underatted indeed by many audiences.

Bob Josef <> (17.04.2002)

Not quite in agreement here. I don't think that this is as strong as Making Movies -- I don't find as many good hooks here as on that album. Nonetheless, there is some excellent stuff here. Mark was wise to add a session keyboardist on MM, and was even smarter to add a full timer here -- it really helps expand the sound considerably. "Industrial Disease" is very funny, and "Telegraph Road" is brilliant. It's not boring at all, even at 14 minutes -- it really does conjure images of the advance of progress over the countryside. A great driving tune on those long trips across the Midwest (not that I make any of those, but anyway..). The rest are a little too short on melody and long on atmosphere for me, but still listenable. And it was a big setup for the success that followed.


Glenn Wiener <> (24.09.2001)

Some very creative versions indeed. 'Tunnel Of Love' is a sheer masterpiece as the pianos and Knophler's guitar playing work well together. 'Sultans Of Swing' is also a standout here. Like the instrumental closing piece as well. Probably best for something in the background as at times the guys hit some slow spots but none the less this is good stuff.


Brian Aust <> (06.09.2001)

Hmm... I had to take a few moments to ponder your comments regarding how Brothers In Arms was essentially three solid uplifting rockers (the first three), followed by a bunch of boring soundalikes. You did elaborate further in your review by pointing out some of the high points and intricacies of each of those subsequent tracks, but to my ears this album has nary a weak moment. It IS true that apart from "One World," the rest of the songs following the first three are quieter... but each has its own very real atmosphere and feel, and really don't bore me whatsoever (the lone exception being the molasses "Your Latest Trick", which does provide that creeping feeling that you're listening to standard adult MOR material). "Why Worry" is simply beautiful and affecting. "Ride Across the River" has that African/South American jungle feel and percussion. "The Man's Too Strong".... is ultimately moving, even if the melody and guitar lines are a bit folkish as you pointed out.

But the lyrics make up for any visible shortcomings in melody. "One World" is just, frankly, the best of the four rocking songs -- the speed at which i'm driving in my car at any given point this song kicks in automatically increases by 10mph or so. But honestly, my real bone to pick is with your assessment of the title track. This *IS* the highlight of the album, bar none, in my eyes. I will duly acknowledge that I have some rather personal history with this track (it was playing in my old '80 Toyota Celica as I was driving back home from Oswego State college after professing my feelings to -- and subsequently getting rejected by -- the girl I simply could not do without. This song takes me back to that day in such vivid and photographic fashion it startles me - evidence of its power). But even beyond that... this title track to the Brothers In Arms album is all about *atmosphere*. The fade-in of the eerie synthesizers, followed by the joining of that oh-so-melancholy guitar line... with the wall of synths sounding like the crashing of ocean waves. His guitar lines, that weave back and forth with his vocals in an almost call-and-response fashion, evoke such strong currents of sadness and poignancy that the rest of the album could not possibly have prepared the listener for. I understand that you don't exactly find a melody in this song, and there isn't one in the classic sense with a rhythm section --- but the melodies are found in the interplay between Knopfler's voice and his guitar, with the atmospheric synths providing the melancholic backwash to them. The fadeout, with Knopfler's guitar taking centre stage, is a standout example of how Knopfler can extract sheer emotion with each note, a la Clapton in his Layla days. I'm a big fan of the 1978 eponymous debut as well, but to me it is truly bested by the scope and ambition that Brothers in Arms reaches for, sell-out to the mid-80's MTV and CD generations as it most unquestionably is. All sell-outs should sound this good.

Glenn Wiener <> (24.09.2001)

Atmosphere reigns supreme on this release. Yes 'Walk Of Life' is bouncy and cheerful but that title track will certainly put you in a deep trance. The melodies iin 'Your Latest Trick' and 'Why Worry' surely create a pleasant mood. And I like the guitar tone on 'Money For Nothing'. Its good to see Mark trying a different guitar tone. Certainly stylish if not out and out spectacular.

Bob Josef <> (14.01.2003)

Certainly, Mark continues to expand on his synth vocabulary here, with pretty impressive results. I don't agree that he's totally given over to AC stylistics, except on "Your Latest Trick", with that stupid Sting-type saxophone ruining the song. The coda to"Why Worry?" does go on too long, but it sounds almost New Age too me. Otherwise, the rest of the songs are very cool. The dark, wonderfully weird ethnic sounds of "Ride Across the River" certainly wouldn't find their way to AC radio, never mind the "Heart of Darkness" theme in the lyrics. My personal favorite is "The Man's Too Strong". I agree with Brian about the lyrics, and the combination of acoustic and electric guitars ("The man's too big/the man's too strong" -- CRASH! -- love that!) is very powerful. The three hit singles deserved to be. Maybe there's nothing here quite on the order of "Skateaway" or "Telegraph Road", but it's still a high quality release from the guys.

Bill Slocum <> (11.06.2004)

Brothers In Arms reminds me of a funnel; wide and encompassing at the top, then suddenly very narrow, dark, and leaking down to nowhere. It's a good album, but it's a bit disconcerting to agree with you and many here and say that the three best songs on the album are the three you hear on classic rock radio.

Was ever a band defined by a hit so incongruous to the rest of their recorded output as Dire Straits was by "Money For Nothing"? [Could that be what you mean by "sellout"? I don't hear them selling out in the classic sense of prostituting their sound to please the masses.] Actually, I suspect that in another 10 years, people will talk more about "Sultans Of Swing," which is more representative and seems to be stubbornly clinging to public consciousness in a way "Money For Nothing" hasn't. But take nothing away from it, MFN is a great song. A bit of a novelty number, yes, pushing toward comedy rather than the grand artistic statement, and with a lot of over-the-top '80s synth riffing that Mark Knopfler clearly meant for satire. Yet you can't call it "cheesy," automatic as that modifier may be to the phrase "80s synth riffing," because the melodic work here is very creative and energized, complemented by fine guitar work.

MFN's lyrics are almost novelistic in their approach, creating a distinctive character who drools over the scantily-clad ladies on the music videos and resents the long-haired singer who is getting their attentions and the big bucks by making cracks about the singer's sexual orientation. (Ah, yes, you could still do that in 1985.) He throws in some gut-busting left-field criticisms ("What's that, Hawaiian noises?") before returning to his drudgery, which by the way is rendered with genius as Knopfler turns it into a catchy refrain: "We got to move these refridgerators/We got to move these color TeeVeeeeees..."

That said, I like "So Far Away" a little better, enough to say it's my stand-out track on this album. It's more what I associate with Dire Straits, and as a song about that ultimate pop topic, lost love, it resonates with me like few others. Knopfler's vocals, resigned as usual, really fit the mood of this one. Very quiet, subdued, but with a strong undertow, like what you get on Dire Straits' eponymous debut.

"Walk Of Life" is bright, a fun song that probably annoys me to hear a little too often, but definitely an appreciated contrast from what follows. Nice keyboard melody, like you say. [Unlike "Money For Nothing," "Walk Of Life" was helped not at all by its video, which on MTV featured a series of sports bloopers with the music thrown up as goofy accompanyment.]

The only non-hit on here I like is "Your Latest Trick"; it's another of Knopfler's jazz-blues excursions, but very well put-together, with a nice shimmering brass section in the background rising up and melting back now and again; and solid lyrics: "And we're standing outside this wonderland/Looking so bereaved and so bereft/Like a Bowery bum when he finally understands/The bottle's empty and there's nothing left." Good song, though it has to grow on you.

Of the rest, though, there's not a lot of patience from me. It took me a while to get Dire Straits, but when I did, I could enjoy "Lions" and "In The Gallery" as much as I already did "Sultans." I can't ever imagine liking "Ride Across The River" or "Brothers In Arms" the same way; they just sort of sit there in the air, doing nothing. It's not all samey, "The Man's Too Strong" and "One World" kick a bit, but they are in a rut all the same.

All the same, I endorse Brothers In Arms for anyone's '80s nostalgia jones. Funny that this was probably as popular as an album as it was a platform for "Money For Nothing;" it was recorded digitally at the advent of the compact disc era and seen as a harbinger of what the new technology offered. That image of a floating guitar floating on a pink cloud was ubiquitous in the stereo department of any local record store, and those chirping crickets on "Ride Across The River" sold many a Bang & Olafson, lemme tell you.


Glenn Wiener <> (18.05.2004)

Decent if not overly spectacular.  The sound is quite similar to Brothers In Arms and the songs are not as good as that record.  Nonetheless, there are some nice jazzy flavorings here and there.

Bill Slocum <> (19.05.2004)

A boring, doggy, sad-assed album that obviously would never have existed had Mark Knopfler not been pressed by the record execs to do something with the Dire Straits name after making one of the '80s biggest albums. He sounds so jaded and uninterested, its clear he doesn't want to be there, and after a while you feel the same.

Take the opening track. I have a feeling that with "Calling Elvis," an uninspired recitation of Elvis song titles with the barest hint of rockabilly and no sense of engagement, was Knopfler's private laugh at what the suits were trying to turn him into. You think of a song with the idea, and there are a lot of places you could take it. A retro guitar guy like Knopfler could really go places with it. But he just sits on it.

"Heavy Fuel," the other song that got airplay back when the album came out, weakly imitiates the narrator of "Money For Nothing," with his sly obnoxious asides and stabs at politically incorrect humor, but musically it just finds its little underworked groove and stays there. Like the rest of the album, it feels muddy from a musical standpoint. The lyrics seem to detail little more than a yobbo's excess appetite. One wonders how much he can really "love the babes" and get into "dirty" brawls if he can't even lift himself from his diner stool. "If you wanna run cool/You got to run on heavy, heavy fuel," goes the lame refrain, which is neither cool nor heavy, but I'll stop there.

"The Bug" has the catchiest feeling (there's the guitar he should have used on "Calling Elvis"), and the title track does do something interesting for at least a few seconds of its five-minute running time. But "When It Comes To You"? "Fade To Black"? "You And Your Friend"? Grant you there's some differences in the guitar playing, but the feel is carbon copy. There's a sameness and a repetitiveness to these tracks, a slow-motion disengaged bluesiness, that puts me right off. He tries to make the songs seem more important than they are by singing them slowly, as if they portent darker things than the commonplace lyrics suggest. How you managed to pull out a favorite track from this is beyond me.

I may only love one Dire Straits album, the first one, but I like some of their other songs, too. On Every Street was a disappointment to me when it came out in 1991, and it remains one 13 years later.


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