Mark Knopfler is a badass. My generation seems to only remember the former Dire Straits frontman because he wrote “Money For Nothing”, but that passing knowledge can only be described as their loss. His clean guitar riffs and reserved sense of humor have made him a legend, and his fifth solo effort, Kill To Get Crimson, proves exactly why he’s worthy of that esteemed title.

From start to finish and every song in between, this record oozes knowledge and grace. Like the best Modernist authors, Knopfler seemingly implores a stream of consciousness, using his lyrics to paint vivid, disjointed stories from the first person narrative. His delicate, seasoned voice provides a soothing backdrop to the intricate and lovely guitar riffs. The entire disc really serves as a nice juxtaposition to the up-tempo passion he made famous with Dire Straits.

Some Rock N Roll enthusiasts might be miffed at the reserved turn he has taken with his solo work, and while this disc certainly cements that musical change, it’s actually in this structure that Kill To Get Crimson finds its voice. Like a wise sage, Knopfler teaches with subdued rhythms and shines with dry wit. I was surprised at how subtly funny some of these tracks are, but any doubt of its humor is shored up by “Secondary Waltz.”

If you were wetted by the thought of The Donnas’ new CD this week, than this record probably isn’t for you, but if you can’t get enough of noted songsters like Tim Buckley or Leonard Cohen, than you need to purchase this release immediately. It’s not exactly brimming with number one singles, but in the words of an idealistic socialist, every one is equally good in its own way. Karl Marx would have liked this CD, and I do too.

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