But before I delve into it, I just want to apologise for this late upload. My Wi-Fi was refusing to load the site last night and today, so I couldn’t post anything until now. However, after a few goes at the old IT Crowd catchphrase it magically started working again… I really don’t know how the internet works…
Anyway, the album today is ‘Love Over Gold’, by the British rock band Dire Straits, and the lyrics above are from the title track; one of the most beautifully written songs I’ve ever heard. I don’t think words can really describe how much I love this impeccable album, but I’ll do my best for you guys, because you five readers mean so much to me.
Mark Knopfler, the band’s lead guitarist, singer and quite possibly my favourite musician, is both a musical and lyrical genius. He can write songs that are both poetic, witty, political, romantic, and they can be about almost any subject you can think of. One of the best experiences of my life (so far) was going to see him at the Royal Albert Hall last year, and despite being over 60 years old, he’s still got the instantly recognisable finger-picking guitar style he’s always been known for.
This album is probably the most obscure of Dire Straits’ big hit albums, and is often forgotten by causal fans, despite reaching no.1 in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries; it’s also been certified double-platinum in the UK and Canada. I think the reason why it’s often forgotten is that it wasn’t a very commercial album (God I sound like such a hipster in these pieces). It has a grand total of five songs, but still manages to reach a 40 minute run time (Mostly thanks to its epic, 15 minute opening song). There’s absolutely no filler on this album, every song is an individual with its own musical style and voice, and the subjects this album deals with range from the worn-down life of an alcoholic Private Investigator, to the harsh, impersonal nature of industrial life in the 1980s.
The previously mentioned 15 minute opening song is, in my humble opinion, the best song Dire Straits ever recorded. It’s called ‘Telegraph Road’, and, according to Mark Knopfler, it’s about the growth and development of the real Telegraph Road in Detroit. It tells the story of a working man’s struggle to live on the road that, through a recession, becomes just as barren and empty as it was when it was first founded. It really is an atmospheric epic, clocking in at just under 15 minutes, roughly five of which are dedicated to a fast paced, bluesy, ending instrumental. From the gentle acoustic guitar and piano opening to the despairing and angry electric guitar solo at the end, it really does have some incredible musical pieces in it.
‘Private Investigations’, the second song on the album, was released as a single and reached no.2 in the UK, making it one of their most successful songs despite its length and minimalist style. It’s a haunting track, with a finger-picked acoustic guitar featuring as the main instrument, and a lyrical style similar to a Shakespearean soliloquy. It’s a combination of a calm but brooding mood, interrupted by bursts of electric guitar, sounding like gunfire in the night.
The other single from this album was ‘Industrial Disease’, a song about a metaphorical epidemic breaking out in factories across Britain, representing the stress and depression caused by the dysfunctional life factory workers were living. This is definitely one of the most political songs featured on a Dire Straits album, but this was a period of strikes and factory closures in ’80s Britain, and so the song doesn’t feel out of place at all. Sitting within these serious, fairly heavy songs, the title track, ‘Love Over Gold’, is a beautiful, heartfelt song about how you should take a leap every now and then, even if it doesn’t always pay off.
One thing I want to mention briefly is the artwork. It’s a fantastic, striking image, and it really connects to the underlying feelings of frustration and anger piercing the often serene music of the album.
So that’s it, my third-to-last album in this series, and my second favourite album of all time, ‘Love Over Gold’ by Dire Straits. It’s a classic rock album, with influences from the blues, progressive rock, root rock and many, many more. Get it, and I promise you that from the eerie entrance of ‘Telegraph Road’ to the folksy outro of ‘It Never Rains‘, you won’t be disappointed.