Epic of the week 11: Telegraph Road by Dire Straits

Title: Telegraph Road
Band: Dire Straits
Genre: Soft Rock

  • While Dire Straits for the most part stayed close to the Blues and Country origins of Rock their 1982 album Love Over Gold borders on Progressive territory.
  • Unlike most modern, electrified music Telegraph Road makes extensive use of changes in volume. By playing a catchy tune loudly and then brining it down to a simple whisper the listener is forced to think about the lyrics. Every Rock musician should learn this lesson.
  • This is the essence of symphonic composition. Grab the audience’s attention with a loud, fast passage, take the volume and tempo right down so they pay attention and then go faster and louder than before to leave them satisfied.
  • Notice that the organ-esque synthesiser hums through almost every part of this song. By simulating noises coming from afar this gives the impression of being in a large open area, reinforcing that this is a song about a place.
  • The way that the lyrics shift from an all seeing narrator recounting the distant past to a protagonist sharing his feelings is another simple but effective device that should be used more often.
  • This particular song has a special place in my heart because it was how I first discovered extended song structures and lyrics built around narrative instead of sentiment.

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