Category Archives: Dire Straits

Rocks In The Attic #290: Dire Straits – ‘Brothers In Arms’ (1985)

RITA#290I don’t really know what to say about this album. It has its moments – mainly the scratchy guitar riff and sheer oomph of Money For Nothing – but the rest of the songs are just bland background music, easy listening slush for ‘80s yuppies.

I think I find the album cover the most offensive though – a beautiful guitar, suspended in the air, framed by a sky blue border and a horrific pastel-pink trim. The tasteless presentation takes the beauty out of the guitar and leaves nothing but nausea for the listener.

Hit: Money For Nothing

Hidden Gem: Brothers In Arms

Rocks In The Attic #106: Dire Straits – ‘Making Movies’ (1980)

Rocks In The Attic #106: Dire Straits - ‘Making Movies’ (1980)I’m as much a fan of minimalism as the next man, but I sincerely hope that the person who designed this album cover was fired immediately for being incredibly lazy. What an opportunity: to design something – a piece of art, even – that will be consumed by many people; and the best you can manage is a blank red cover with a blue edge which makes the album look like an office file.

Musos tend to dislike Dire Straits, and they have good reason to, as they’re the very definition of Dad Rock; but this album comes a whole five years before the global hit Brothers In Arms and it doesn’t have the disadvantage of sounding like it belongs in the 80s, like its successors commonly do.

Hit: Romeo And Juliet

Hidden Gem: Solid Rock

Rocks In The Attic #22: Eric Clapton – ‘Journeyman’ (1989)

I bought this because it had Bad Loveon it. I’m glad I bought it because the rest of the album is sweet – I could never understand how Unplugged was considered his comeback when he was making albums of this quality 3 years earlier.

The opening guitar riff to Bad Lovehas to be one of most underrated rock riffs of the 1980s. I’d put it up there with Dire Straits’ Money For Nothingas the best of that decade. In fact, does anybody even write riffs of that calibre anymore? Jack White has a few under his belt, but there’s been a shift away from putting a riff like that front and centre in the production.

I love everything about this album – the photo of Eric looking vaguely psychotic in the dark on the front cover, to the photo of him on the reverse – wearing a grey linen suit over a bright yellow turtleneck, standing on metal shavings.

I read his autobiography not too long ago, and it really got to me that so much of his life has been plagued by alcoholism, and frankly, wasted. If he had been able to knock albums like this out every couple of years, he would have a pretty impressive back catalogue rather than the sketchy affair that it is.

I remember, many years after first buying this record, I was working on a late night as a supervisor of a DIY store. I put the album on in the break room, thinking that nobody would know it, but one of my colleagues Carly got overexcited and started singing and dancing along to it whilst doing the vacuuming – a favourite album of hers too. It’s funny how things stick in your memory like that.

Hit: Bad Love

Hidden Gem: Breaking Point