Title: Your Latest Trick
Artist: Dire Straits
Album: Brothers in Arms
Brothers in Arms, Dire Straits' most successful album, has a bit of a split personality. The songs that rocketed the record to #1 in virtually every civilized country (and Australia ;) are upbeat video-friendly concoctions guaranteed to send everyone to the dance floor at your sister's wedding ("Money for Nothing," "Walk of Life"). But if you keep working your way through the CD (and this was one of the first records to really be designed for the single-sided play of a CD, having been recorded and mastered entirely on digital equipment—DDD!), you find a melancholic mood ring of tunes that ranges from lullaby ("Why Worry") to lamentation ("Brothers in Arms"). The songs are looooong, meant to be digested, not swallowed whole. Two-thirds of them crack the five-minute mark and four are seven minutes or longer, allowing plenty of room for Mark Knopler's unique finger-picked electric lead guitar.
"Your Latest Trick" falls mostly into the latter category of songs but had enough commercial appeal to hit the singles charts in a few of the countries I mentioned (not released in the US, surprisingly). To me, the song sounds like a sequel to "Sultans of Swing" with Knopfler and Co. finding themselves back in a late-night bar playing jazz, but this time it's of the smooth Latin persuasion and Knopfler has handed the lead to saxophonist Michael Brecker. If you've heard this song a lot, that sax lick may be sounding a bit stale, but it you haven't, it's pretty crisp. And even though there are a lot of things occurring throughout the course of the song (including some really subtle distorted guitar work and fairly complex chord voicings in the electric piano) the arrangement sounds pretty spare, allowing Knopfler's understated delivery to quietly reflect the city-at-sleep setting of the lyric.
See you tomorrow in 1995.