Song Of The Day 1/7/2014: Dire Straits - "Badges, Posters, Stickers and T-Shirts"

B-Sides Week: Dire Straits, and Mark Knopfler in particular, feel to me like they get a raw deal from us, the elevatory cognoscenti of critical reproach. I like their songs. Yeah, they're pristine works of technical gloss and victories of compression that other musicians might have used to throw listeners off the scent of their insincerity, but have you heard Making Movies? "Romeo and Juliet" is a song of such romantic power, John Cusack should have been playing that on the boom box over his head. Knopfler was a really good songwriter. The only flaw I saw with him (besides "Walk of Life") was his headband, but we were all susceptible to headbands in the '80s. They came in the gift bag. What we were supposed to do with them? I promise I won't hold your ironic mustache against you 30 years from now.

I mean -- okay, granted, Dire Straits could get a little ponderous at times. Fourteen-minute songs about the sweeping industrialization of a blue-collar town and its inevitable economic doom. But Knopfler could play, couldn't he? Wasn't he always a great player? Why am I speaking about him as if he was dead?

Anyway, "Badges, Posters, Stickers and T-Shirts" was the B-side of Dire Straits' single "Industrial Disease," a humorous jest not far removed from "Money For Nothing," which came later. This song is a neat bit of fake jazz, sung in the person of a lightly starstruck music fan who's somehow managed to get an audience with the headliner. It's flighty but it's fun. I'm glad to know at some point Mark Knopfler was having fun.

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