Song of the Day #336: ‘Your Latest Trick’ – Dire Straits

brothersinarmsDire Straits’ 1985 album Brothers in Arms was their artistic and commercial highpoint. They released one other album (On Every Street in 1991) but it was pretty much an afterthought. Brothers in Arms, propelled by mega-hits ‘Money For Nothing’ and ‘Walk of Life,’ sold more than 9 million copies in the U.S. and more than 13 million in the U.K.

It was also the first album to sell more than a million copies in the CD format, which was relatively new at the time. The compact disc of Brothers in Arms contained longer versions of several songs than their vinyl counterparts, and the digital mastering made it a must-have for early adopters.

The album contains just nine songs, all of them excellent. One of my favorites is ‘Your Latest Trick,’ a jazzy number toward the middle of the record. It contains some of the best horn work I’ve ever heard in a pop song — the opening trumpet segues into a saxophone line worthy of a film noir score.

I’m not sure exactly what the song is about, though the titles and some of the lyrics make prostitution a fair guess. The narrator has been done wrong by a woman, but how or why isn’t exactly clear. The last verse recalls the lonely jazz band in ‘Sultans of Swing,’ as a group of “satin jazz men” pack up their instruments as the bar closes around them.

[Note: This song marks my official break from the confines of YouTube. I have purchased a WordPress space upgrade that allows me to upload MP3s to the server, meaning I can stream songs I'm unable to find elsewhere.]

All the late night bargains have been struck
Between the satin beaus and their belles
Prehistoric garbage trucks
Have the city to themselves
Echoes roars dinosaurs
They’re all doing the monster mash
And most of the taxis, most of the whores
Are only taking calls for cash

I don’t know how it happened
It all took place so quick
But all I can do is hand it to you
And your latest trick

My door was standing open
Security was laid back and lax
But it was only my heart that got broken
You must have had a pass key made out of wax
You played robbery with insolence
And I played the blues in twelve bars down on Lover’s Lane
And you never did have the intelligence to use
The twelve keys hanging off my chain

I don’t know how it happened
It all took place so quick
But all I can do is hand it to you
And your latest trick

Now it’s past last call for alcohol
Past recall has been here and gone
The landlord he finally paid us all
The satin jazz men have put away their horns
And we’re standing outside of this wonderland
Looking so bereaved and so bereft
Like a Bowery bum when he finally understands
The bottle’s empty and there’s nothing left

I don’t know how it happened
It was faster than the eye could flick
But all I can do is hand it to you
And your latest trick

Dire Straits – Your Latest Trick


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3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #336: ‘Your Latest Trick’ – Dire Straits

  1. Dana says:

    Well, I must confess that I was looking forward to some nostalga with Money for Nothing, but this is nice to hear as well.

    And congrats on breaking from the bonds of YouTube, although I may miss the funky anime videos that accompaied some of the SOTD selections:)

  2. Amy says:

    First, I think it’s cool that two of the automatically generated “possibly related posts” are to other song of the day posts you have written :)

    Second, thanks for the upgrade. It’s nice not to be distracted by an unrelated video when it is the music upon which we are being asked to focus.

    Third, why would Dana assume we won’t get to hear Money for Nothing? You’re clearly not featuring only one song per album; I imagine we’ll get a couple more tracks off this, their artistic and commercial highpoint. I’m sure I must have owned this album (cd) at some point, but I’m not familiar with today’s song. As I’ve confessed many times on this blog, I am a “greatest hits” fan of most artists, with only a dozen or so earning my full album commitment, so I often am introduced to songs by your blog. This one is a particular treat. Great music. (though Daniel just offered, “What is that song? REALLY bad. Sorry, it just isn’t my thing.” :)

    A few songs in, I’m thinking more than ever that Knopfler’s music is all about the sound. Not that the words are unimportant, but they do seem less important than in other songs, and they do easily get lost in the overall orchestration of the song and Knopfler’s mumbled, soft delivery. I almost wonder if that’s part of the plan.

  3. Clay says:

    Well, you’re both right. This isn’t the last Brothers in Arms song I’m featuring, but I won’t be featuring ‘Money for Nothing.’ So here’s that video for those who want to relive the early MTV awesomeness.

    Also, I will continue to use YouTube when a video is available for the song I want to feature but this upgrade means I won’t have to rule out any song in my collection, as I have up until now.

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