Picks and Pans Review: Brothers in Arms
They're relatively subdued and rocking only quietly, but Mark Knopfler and friends have turned message-y without sermonizing—and without losing any of the richness of their music. The antiwar, anticonsumerist lyrics, all written by Knopfler, are under control and full of complexity. Money for Nothing, for instance, mocks both instant rock stardom and those who envy it: "Now look at them yoyo's—that's the way you do it/You play the guitar on the MTV/That ain't workin'—that's the way you do it/Money for nothin' and chicks for free." While Knopfler's singing is, for better or worse, more Dylanesque than ever, his guitar playing, resonant and emotional, remains unexcelled. Michael Brecker adds some thoughtful saxophone backing, and Sting gets credit for showing up, although what he did is unclear. (Sting and Willie Nelson are neck-and-neck in the superstar hyperactivity standings these days.) Knopfler's experience in scoring movies seems to have influenced both him and his Dire Straits colleagues; they have exchanged their youthful exuberance for a more evocative, contemplative style that is nonetheless engaging. (Warner Brothers)
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