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Criticism | Mark Knopfler: a hard Look at the human condition

No one mentions it but the Mark Knopler could be considered a modus operandi exemplary. Figure in the list of millionaires of the british music, thanks to sweep with Dire Straits during the decade of fat cows; remember, his Brothers in arms was the album chosen to promote the medium magical and indestructible-called Compact Disc.

Artist: Mark Knofpler

Album: Down the Road Whatever

Label: British Grove / Universal

Rating: 6 of 10

however, instead of insisting on exploit that monstrous success, Knopfler has opted for a career as a solo artist with a low profile. Disbanded Dire Straits in 1995 and concentrated on generating disks of regular shape: abundant works under his name, many soundtracks and occasional collaborations (Emmylou Harris, Chet Atkins); from time to time, even produced, although it is not dealing with legends type Bob Dylan or Tina Turner.

One would say that Mark prefers to work without the pressures of big business. By giving up the golden crown of the group, also enjoys the maximum freedom. And yes, there are themes in his work in solo that would have fit comfortably on albums of Dire Straits. In general, however, there are recordings of high-end, made to all luxury: choirs, brasses, synths, percussion. Not missing the sparks of guitar silver, integrated in the set.

A drawback is that this magnificence arrives to clash with the themes of Retrobet their songs. Knopfler, journalist training, has art to draw a silhouette with three or four brush strokes, dominates the catchment of a character through their parliaments, aspires to take the snapshot psicogeográfica of a place. Tends to portray the losers, the lost souls, workers crushed by the modernity, fugitives from their roots.

Some parts seem romantic stories taken from the mythology of western but not trust: the album opens with “the Trapper man”, where he suggests that, as was the case with the trappers of the West, our well-being derives from the fact that someone is willing to stain your hands and, yes, even to kill. After emerging songs about abandoned children who become gunmen, veterans that go to the dance of the people maqueados (but with a revolver Colt) and cowboys who lament the disappearance of their cattle, replaced by housing developments.

The songs located in the United Kingdom avoided the epic. Highlights, by its dryness, “Just a boy away from home,” which suggests elegantly that the guy who walks late at night through the deserted streets of a city of others is a fan missing from the Liverpool FC (with a fine slide guitar, quotes the “You'll never walk alone” anthem of the team). On the contrary, tends to load the inks in the melodrama. “Matchstick man” is a miniature acoustics, that could come signed by James Taylor, except for the echoes autobiographical: Christmas day, it has fallen tremendous nevada and a guitarist, after a bolus miserable in Penzance, is set in motion by finger to reach his home in Newcastle. Given that the distance is nearly 800 km away, the young Knopfler should believe blindly in “the kindness of strangers”.

I would suggest that Down the Road Whatever might have been sequenced with greater mischief. The disc is made unnecessarily long (and some songs need scissors). I know that none of that will affect Knopfler: includes one piece of pulse caribbean, “Heavy up”, where it responds arrogant to someone, perhaps a critic, that he recommended him to lighten his songs. One of the advantages of the millionaires is that they can ignore the advice of the populace.

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