'On Every Street'; Dire Straits; Warner Bros. A smattering of recent releases gives a taste of styles ranging from blues, folk, musical theater, classical, rap, and rock. The writers share 11 compact discs they find noteworthy.
After a six-year hiatus, Dire Straits has released "On Every Street." If you liked "Brothers in Arms the 1985 record that went platinum with its mega-hit "Money For Nothing you will be pleased with this new arrival.Here frontman Mark Knopfler and company serve up standard Dire Straits fare with resonating guitar and common-man commentary - crossing the boundaries of rock, blues, and country. While "On Every Street" may not break new musical ground, it's a well-rounded album, balancing light catchy pop with more soulful and heartfelt material. The opener "Calling Elvis" is just what you'd expect: driving guitar and Knopfler's unmistakable voice, deep and sleepy with a tone of ad-hoc sing-talk. In the same vein as "Money for Nothing" comes the hard-hitting "Heavy Fuel," which sarcastically portrays a man who revels in excess. "The Bug" is a playful, rambling tune about love that sends you rushing for the repeat button at its finish. "My Parties," is like a show tune that mocks a "host with the most," and "How Long," complete with slide guitar, will grab country fans. The title track "On Every Street" is a sparse and wistful ballad that rides out with a flowing instrumental. "Iron Hand" is a solemn sigh about war. Musicians often find themselves caught between the need for artistic progress and the security of sticking with what they do best. Not that Dire Straits is being too cautious; they've already defined their niche. If this record is "more of the same," its differences lie in more of a moody, movie-soundtrack feel with such songs as "Planet of New Orleans,You and Your Friend," and "Fade to Black." On the whole, "On Every Street" may not measure up to the commercial success of "Brothers in Arms," but it's a solid offering by this accomplished British band. In these times where change keeps the attention of the masses, it's nice to know that bands like Dire Straits can stay true to form and still manage to please the mainstream.