A YEAR IN MUSIC: DIRE STRAITS – Love Over Gold (1982)

A YEAR IN MUSIC: 1982
Review by: Roland Bruynesteyn

Is it really the best album of 1982?
In all genres?
Is it still the best after more than 30 years?
How about a sell-out to the CD buying public?
Jumping the video clip wagon?
Isn’t it just an OK singer-songwriter, fronting a very, very mediocre band?
Yes, Mr. Knopfler has a nice guitar sound (only one, though) but isn’t his voice rather poor?
The Phil Collins of guitar playing?
Pathetic lyrics, so simple they’re basically insulting?
Silly instrumental passages that try to suggest a cinematic quality but fail utterly?
Doesn’t the production date it terribly, with the cheesy synthesizer sounds (organ synthesizers, string synthesizers and the like).
Would anyone really ever listen to this nowadays?
 
Questions, questions, questions…
 
I do not have the answers to all these questions, I wonder who made them up. All I can say is that for me this was by far the best album of 1982, in 1982.
 
At the young, impressionable age of 18, still somewhat developing my musical tastes (actually being quite elitist about it), I loved music, but more or less hated all music that was played on the radio. I was deeply into Queen (since “Killer Queen”, at the tender age of 9 in 1973), Pink Floyd, Genesis, Camel, Meat Loaf and Paul McCartney, but they were old by 1982, and Queen had actually stopped making good music after QLK.
 
I loved the first three albums by Dire Straits (albums I remember having as LPs, with Love Over Gold, before I switched to CD in 1984). Making Movies was already promising something new, but this was it: good music, well performed, atmospheric and still amazingly popular, especially in the Netherlands (partly because they went totally CD, in touring sponsorships with Philips at the time).
 
I felt slightly ashamed that my musical tastes coincided with popular taste, but I put aside my snobbery and enjoyed it immensely. In 1985 I went to a concert in Leiden in a hall where I had exams during my studies at the University (and where they apparently sold pigs two days previously…). The hall has been demolished.
 
I listened to this album for the first time in more than 10 years today, and it made me cry and laugh at the same time. It brought back memories of that year that I wanted to forget, and it brought back memories that shaped me into what I’ve become. It was the right album at the right time for me. I’ve since moved on musically; it will probably be another 10 years before I listen to it again, if at all, but I will never part with it.
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Author: tomymostalas

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