Why is Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Now that IS workin’, that’s the way you do it.
What does Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
There are two main things that I associate with Brothers in Arms, one very specific and personal, the other more universal.
First, the personal. When I was around 15 years old, I visited my sister at college, who was then a freshman at the State University of New York at Fredonia. I flew by myself from a small airport on Long Island (MacArthur) to Buffalo, where I was picked up Lisa, her boyfriend Mike, and a few of their friends.
I recall that one of the friends was wearing a black t-shirt that read in white lettering, “FAILED SEX, NEED TUTOR,” and I thought, “So this is college life.”
It was a fun weekend. I may or may not have tasted a strange libation called Blue Maui (which turns out to be a “Flavored Schnapps Liqueur,” which is rather perfect) and participated in a really cool dorm game which involved drawing playing cards, and based on what card you got you were the “murderer,” “detective,” “victim,” or witnesses of some sort and the main players were tasked with figuring things out from there.
A very specific memory from that weekend is when, while hanging out in the dorms, someone threw “Walk of Life,” by Dire Straits, on their stereo. And it was loud. Lisa’s boyfriend, Mike, took this opportunity to strut down the dorm hallway and sing along. He had this delighted look on his face — you could tell that he really dug this song.
And it is that kind of song, isn’t it? It’s happy and kind of weirdly hopeful and it makes you want to go back to being 15 years old and visiting the exotic experience of college life for the first time and wondering about all the wild things that might lie ahead.
Okay, like I said above, the other thing is much more universal, and it’s simply seeing the music video for “Money for Nothing” approximately every 17 minutes during some stretch of the mid-1980s. I actually thought of it as “the MTV song,” because it references MTV throughout the song and, whoah, you’re actually watching it on MTV at the same time and stuff.
It also has a big, meaty guitar hook, it’s catchy as hell, and without knowing anything else – seems like it’s about microwaves or something? – you can sing along with lines like “that’s the way you do it” and “money for nothing and your chicks for free.”
It’s important to note, by the way, that during the writing of this piece I noticed for the first time that the lyrics include a word that’s used several times that is wildly inappropriate by modern standards – and should have been back then.
Ah yes, and the “Money for Nothing” music video also had those godawful even for the time computer graphics too, let us not forget.
“Ride Across the River” is a nice, quieter change up that shows off a very different side of the band.
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms
The band name Dire Straits reminds me that there’s an absolutely fantastic Australian TV show from 2012 called The Straits. Unfortunately, it only ran for one season, and I was able to catch it on Hulu at some point.
If you’re a fan of gangster shows, crime dramas, and gripping family dramas, I highly recommend checking it out.
And if that’s not enough, Brian Cox plays the family patriarch, Harry Montebello. Cox is one of my favorite all time actors, and he’s doing his best work yet these days of course on a little show called Succession on HBO Max these days.
If you’re a TV fan, be sure to check out the best 100 TV shows ever.
Some stats & info about Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, British Bands, Album Rock, Pop Music
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #418
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Brothers in Arms released? 1985
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #803 out of 1,000
Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.