Question of the week: Are Dire Straits and Brothers In Arms album underrated, or overrated?

By on 08-10-2016

Cowboy Cantor will have from now one a weekly question, made through social media, the podcast and in a blog post where I present the answers from last week question. You are invited to be part of the debate. Please do so.

Next week question: Celebrating 25 years of Nevermind, how important was the album and Nirvana in your life and musical experiences?

This week question: Are Dire Straits and Brothers In Arms album overrated or underrated these days?

I remember middle decade of 1990 that I dedicated On Every Street to a girl in a party. I don’t know why I did. I just did it. She was my friend, lived in Canada, and every summer she would come to Maia, São Miguel, we would stay hours and hours talking about music. In this summer we were about 14 or 15 years old. We talked about Depeche Mode, Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen, Canadian independent music, and specially Extreme. Yes, Extreme. She even offered me Waiting for the Punchline on a tape, original recording.

When in that party I dedicated On Every Street, she comes after me and was like:

– Did I listen well? Did you dedicated that song to me? I don’t know the band.

At that time OMG wasn’t a word, but it would have been what I would would say. Dire Straits? You love music, you know about the biggest and smallest bands and don’t know Dire Straits? I felt like the band was just an European fetish. Trust me, this has been a really painful moment for me. How come Dire Straits weren’t known in central Canada that time? All right, maybe it was just my friend who didn’t know about them. But anyway, every time I talk to someone about music, and the biggest albums and bands, Dire Straits and Brother In Arms rarely comes to the conversation. Should we, or should we not pay more respect to the band chosen to open the most famous music television channel? Also, Brothers In Arms album has 5 from 9 tracks in Dire Straits greatest hits.

From simple answers, like yes, of course, people should pay more attention to their work, to some indifferent answers like why isn’t Use Your Illusion I and II in the top 500 albums at Rolling Stone?, I also got answers that almost made my dilemma worth a case-study.

Bruno Guerreiro, a guitar player, metal lover, whom Iron Maiden are the biggest reference, says he was always fascinated with Money For Nothing video. And on his 3 years old he would fall asleep to the sound of Why Worry?

Stuart Morisson, host of Insomnia Radio, tells he and his friends in the late 70’s were passing from progressive rock to disco and punk, mostly hanging out at the Marquee Club. They would go to various gigs, and one night, before the show, they listened to Sultans of Swing. People in the room firstly went mad about that sound. But after the show, the d.j. had to play again the track. Though Stuart likes Brothers in Arms, he prefers their debut album.

Jonny Dobson, The Edinburgh Man podcast, believes there is too much noise about the band. Certainly he doesn’t like them as much as he used to, specially being Brothers In Arms the first album he ever bought, but for Jonny the album was good at that time, and there are more influential Dire Straits albums. Maybe history hasn’t been kind to the band, he assumes. Maybe? Maybe. Take a look at the next answer.

Dave Lee, the Bugcast doesn’t believe Brothers In Arms is underrated, but on the other hand, Dire Straits are. The problem is the same on every band that starts gaining popularity after breaking trough with an unique sound: Linkin Park went exactly the same way with Minutes to Midnight, sure some of their best material is on that album, but then some of it is just commercially appealing junk, he says.

Why Worry? and Brothers In Arms are Dave’s favourite songs from the album, but the album, despite being a good album, most of it is just commercially appealing junk. What made the album so special was that it was the perfect album for calling people attention to the c.d. format. While everyone had a vinyl copy of it, the album on c.d. would sound amazing. Dave also believes that even today you would be amazed with the c.d. sound compared to the vinyl version of it. Dave ends his answer by saying the album was just this, and nothing special apart of being a commercial success and a c.d. format teaser. Dave ends saying there are other important albums by Dire Straits, his favourite is the live album Alchemy, while Communique is his favourite studio album.


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