Sunday, February 26, 2017

Making Movies - Dire Straits

Let's see how long I can keep this up for, who know's maybe not for long but I'm glad it's been consistent weekly reviews now for almost three months. I started in December, and I think I might actually do this from now on in general. Unless I have reason to other wise, but for this year I'll continue this for as long as I can. This was waiting till January to finish, but I guess I'll do it now since I've been busy. The third album by the Dire Straits, released in just as many years. This follows the 1979 album, often looked at as a remake of the debut, Communiqué. This album was released on October 17th, 1980 with production being handled by Mark and Jimmy Iovine. I guess after hearing the song Because the Night that made Mark want to get Jimmy to produce this album. Jimmy also engineered for Bruce Springsteen on Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town and also was a recording engineer on The River. He also worked with Meatloaf as a remix engineer for Bat Out of Hell. There is other albums he has worked on, though they are less important for this review, but I digress. Speaking of notable things, Roy Bittan of The E Street Band plays piano on the record. I assume it's because the Iovine thing but who knows. This title somewhat interests me, Making Movies. It makes me think it's a concept album, or each song is a sort of mini movie within a song. They'd tell a story and take you there with vivid imagery and moving music. You later find out its a lyric, but that doesn't take away from my love of that title. Some of the songs do have a cinematic feeling, so it isn't all that off I guess.
  1. Tunnel of Love: Opening the album with Roy quoting The Carousel Waltz from the Hartz/Rodgers play of the same name, minus "waltz". I can honestly say this is one of the greatest tracks I've ever heard. It was from second one of hearing to second whatever I'm on after a few dozen listens. I really dig it, plus I'll add what an opener. That quote also helps add a lot of atmosphere to the opening, and followed by piano arpeggios reminiscent of Jungleland. I mean, it makes sense, look who's fucking playing it. I also love that organ sound and the piano and organ at the same time that lead into the guitar coming in. So good! I love the guitar on this and the song has this urgency that grabs your attention, you know like a good opener does. I also love the details like the acoustic guitar and the keys/organ in the background. This song is quite fleshed out and it shows. I don't really know exactly how to describe this song other than it's very epic you feel it. I love this and am a bit disappointed I can't find more words to describe this. The quiter part of the song works great and I love how the song builds back up. I think it'd be best if you just heard yourself.
  2. Romeo and Juliet: This opens with a similar melody to that in Jungleland. Though, that works and it isn't a negative thing. The track also features the use of a resonator guitar, the type showed on the Brothers in Arms album cover, which plays the intro to the song. I think it's a fine song, has some great parts,but that intro is great. I really like the way it sounds and there is a nice little swing to the track. I also love how the song goes up and down and doesn't really seem that forces. Everything, dynamics wise, is very natural. I like those touches of acoustic guitar you can hear strumming away at quieter parts. I also love those guitar chords and I really like the piano on the track too. This is a really good track, and I can't believe I didn't like it anymore at one point. Maybe I just needed time away in order to know what I was missing. I also like the solo and how it feels a bit distant and I think it works considering this seems to be about dying love. Or love that has already died. I think it kind of just ends, but I think it's still a great tune.
  3. Skateaway: This is another epic. An epic that a person would think, well why have them all in a row. That's what I think, and the worst part for me is this is my least favorite of the epics. It's got a great music video and great lyrics. They really paint a picture of a girl rollerskating down the busy streets of NYC. Without a care in the world, its as if its describing a scene from a movie. But I don't think this song works quite as well as the last two tracks. I dig the song, the drums a great and the guitar is great and the pre-chorus works. It's just the song seems to be like the lesser of these epics. I don't really have much to say about it, it seems like it's kind of following a formula. Maybe that's why it doesn't work for me really.
  4. Expresso Love: This is where the album starts to slide down. Am I the only one who hears this, "Because the Night belongs to lovers"? I mean it changes with the chorus and pre-chorus, but like the verses with that piano remind me of Because the Night. I mean it's not a terrible song, it kind of works as an in between of Romeo and Juliet and Skateaway but again it feels like it's following a formula. Like it's there, but the click isn't exactly. So close, but no cigar. I do like the organ and think this works a lot better than some later Bruce material, but still.
  5. Hand in Hand: "heart to heart, everywhere. That you never start". This introduction reminds me of Two Out of Three Ain't Bad. The song isn't that a bad, but again it's quite forgettable. Like I can't imagine I'll be returning to this or have an urge to hear this unless I completely forget or am just revisiting that album. The song isn't a terrible song, it's just kind of bland. The chorus is fine, but again nothing ground breaking or memorable.
  6. Solid Rock: This is a pretty good track, and as the title implies its a solid rocker. I can't say much more that that if I'm being honest. I mean it's pretty straight forward, no little twists or turns or grand story being told. Just a rocker, and I mean... what else can you actually say.
  7. Les Boys: A bizarre track that I read somewhere was a cabaret track. While I see that, I think they got that from the lyric. This is a track that kinda reminds me of Make Up or Walk on the Wild Side. This tongue and cheek style track is something that sounds similar to the tongue-and-cheekness of New York Telephone Conversation or Goodnight Ladies. This track is pretty clear about what's its about. And I don't really think it's about anything. I mean he mentions the "Les Boys" and liking whips and that they are in fact gay. I mean I think the biggest flaw here is the fact that the song sounds like it starts then when it ends it starts over with almost a loop. It plays the song basically twice. I've heard songs where that isn't a bother, Oh Well Parts 1 & 2 on the album, but this just kinda takes away from it. There at least it was a section rather than a whole entire song. I guess this feels like an outtake maybe just left on. 
Overall I have to give this album a 7/10. The biggest problem is why have Romeo follow Tunnel . The album runs out of steam by the ending. Why not put Romeo in the second side at least. I like that the Les Boys has a closing vibe, though it could literally be cut in half and done just as good a job as if it wasn't. I digress, this album is pretty solid and is a step up from the last album. 

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