I remember as a kid, Brothers In Arms was the album with "Money For Nothing" and "Money For Nothing" was the song with the "I want my MTV" bit and the funny computer-animated video. That was all fine and good for a 5th grader but as time went on it meant nothing to me and I never gave Dire Straits or Brothers in Arms a second thought.
Once again, we can thank The West Wing for changing that. Man, not only was that a great show but they picked some great music. In the final episode of Season 2, the title track is prominently used to great effect. Not surprisingly, as the song was playing to set the mood for the climax of the episode I was more interested in the song than the show. I recognized Knopfler's voice and started wondering if this was something from a solo record or Dire Straits. Fortunately they played enough of the song that I heard Knopfler say the words "brothers in arms." I finished watching the episode but was fixated on the song. It sounded like the singles I remembered from that record. Within days, I'd bought my first copy of Brothers in Arms and was well on my way to becoming a Mark Knopfler fan.
I never gave the lyrics much thought the first few times I listened to it, instead focusing in on what might be Knopfler's finest moment as a lead guitarist. I know, I know, "Sultans of Swing." Yeah, that one's great too. For me, the understated, tasteful, devastating lead line on "Brothers" is where it's at. The tone is vintage Knopfler and the note selection and attack are brilliant and emotive.
A few weeks ago, sidekick 11 highlighted a line from the song for me and zeroed in on its meaning and I came to like it even more.
"some day you'll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you'll no longer burn to be
Brothers in arms"
These lines are pretty obvious if you give them a few moments, but I didn't until 11 did. Some day this war will all be over and we'll go home and we'll be who we were before. We'll be who we wanted to be in the first place. It won't always be like this. We'll have something to go back to.
When I first started listening to this song I always thought of it in relation to where I first heard it. Now it lives in my mind on its own, although The West Wing is still owed a debt of gratitude.