http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/5d51fb22d22fc52b98e8b8d558450fb1d668ad8b.jpg On Every Street

Dire Straits

On Every Street

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
October 17, 1991

Five years ago, Dire Straits was threatening to become the biggest band in the world — and/or an extended arena-rock cliché — when Mark Knopfler whipped off his headband, put down his guitar and hopped off the "money for nothing, chicks for free" treadmill. After an extended hiatus, Knopfler has made an album that falls somewhere between a radical reinvention of Dire Straits and the next step on a continuum from the mega-platinum Brothers in Arms, released in 1985. While "Heavy Fuel," sardonic but fairly witless, will likely emerge as a raised-fist, frat-boy anthem in the "Money for Nothing" mold, most of the rest forsakes heavy-riffing guitar-hero histrionics for more mature brands of mood music.

In the manner of last year's Notting Hillbillies and Knopfler's other side projects, On Every Street explores Knopfler's affinity with Nashville in particular and with an idealized version of the musical South in general, with session steel player Paul Franklin emerging as his major musical foil. The album opens in Memphis with "Calling Elvis," which offers a playful ride on the "Mystery Train" into a brave new world of sampling and rhythm loops. From there the songcraft of "When It Comes to You," "The Bug" and "How Long" practically demands the country-cover treatment, while Franklin additionally makes key contributions to the cocktail-jazz cool of "Fade to Black" and the "Spanish Harlem"-tinged "Ticket to Heaven."

While the more economical material offers the major musical pleasures, some of the longer pieces seem like mere exercises in style: The title song and "You and Your Friend" mainly serve as excuses for the instrumental interplay of their extended fades. At more than seven minutes, "The Planet of New Orleans" was apparently designed as the album's centerpiece, but it sounds like a leftover from one of Knopfler's film sound-tracks, its evocation of "mojo root" incongruous, given a musical backdrop that suggests the aural equivalent of designer fashion.

As a whole, On Every Street reconfirms that Knopfler is an impeccable guitarist, a musician of exquisite taste — but some of it shows why impeccability in rock is often a minor virtue and tastefulness a smooth path to tedium.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    The Commodores | 1984

    The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

    More Song Stories entries »