Mark Knopfler - Get Lucky
Record Label: Mercury Records
Release Date: September 29, 2009
Dire Straits had some of the best classic rock hits of all time. Mark Knopfler, their singer and lead guitarist, and his brother, David, were the creative forces behind milestone albums like Brothers In Arms, Making Movies, and On Every Street. Then, Knopfler decided he had grown tired of the wear and tear of rock and roll and started making solo albums. While I'm still a huge Dire Straits fan, I can't complain much about Mark's decision when I listen to his ninth solo effort, Get Lucky. Released on Mercury Records and produced by Knopfler himself, with the assistance of Chuck Ainley, the album is a refreshing insight into phenomenal songwriting and superior talent. Knopfler uses a mix of unorthodox instruments and compositions, reflecting his history as a writer of movie scores.
Get Lucky starts off with "Border Reiver", featuring a flute riff that sounds to me (and I might be the only one) like it would have fit in perfectly in the movie Titanic. Knopfler then kicks the song into a higher gear, but the entire track is paced throughout by the flute. From the first track on the album, listeners will notice the experience in Knopfler's voice and songwriting; "Border River" is flawlessly arranged, and although it lacks a classic Knopfler guitar solo, it's still very enjoyable. "You Can't Beat the House" is a blues song, something that Knopfler doesn't usually hide up his sleeve. The effort is appreciated, because even though it took me a few listens to really like this song, Knopfler's guitar work eventually made it easy. "Before Gas and TV", one of my favorite tracks on the record, is an acoustic-based number that also features a flute, and has lengthy instrumental portions where Knopfler again shows off his extraordinary songwriting skills.
The album as a whole is slower-paced than Knopfler's previous solo efforts, like 2000's Sailing to Philadelphia, but showcases an instrumental masterpiece. Also shining through is Knopfler's production, as he has become as much of a force behind the boards as he has behind the guitar neck. Other excellent tracks on the album are "Monteleone" and "The Car Was the One", which continue to exhibit the slow rock and roll feel of the album, as well as closers "So Far From the Clyde" and "Piper Till the End". The former is Knopfler putting on a clinic in guitar playing while the latter follows suit with the rest of the album with astounding lengthy instrumental parts. However, to me, the standout of the latter half of the album is the title track, a rhythmic, acoustic-guitar centered song where Knopfler lets his vocals and lyrics shine.
Get Lucky is an album that will probably miss the ears of many young people interested in music, but not because it isn't good. While this is different from the type of music that many listeners label as "quality" today, that doesn't change the fact that Knopfler has made exactly that - a quality album with no bad songs on it. And although not many of the kids I know listen to artists that are older than their parents, I think a listen into this record might reveal a brand of music that many young people are missing out on. Similar to Bruce Springsteen in my opinion, Knopfler is an artist that most young people with a knowledge of music would like, but they sometimes get shut out because of their age and are left behind in favor of what's new. So take the time and listen to Get Lucky, because you never know what will happen; maybe you'll get lucky yourself and stumble upon an entire wealth of music you never knew you'd enjoy.
How does this sound in comparison to the album he made with Emmylou Harris?
I wasn't such a great fan of All the Roadrunning, but I think as a whole Get Lucky sounds more cheerful. It's my favorite of his solo stuff aside from Sailing to Philadelphia. Definitely worth a listen if you liked the Emmylou Harris one, though.