Happy Monday, Spurs fans! Wasn't that match fun? That match was fun. It's always great when you're on the right side of a beat-down, and especially when it positions you so well as a potential top-four threat.
Today we're ranking the albums of one of my all-time favorite bands: Dire Straits. Mark Knopfler is one of the most underrated guitarists of all time, which makes up for the fact that his voice is like Fernet Branca: distinctive, off-putting, and definitely an acquired taste, but one that many people learn to love.
We have already established that I am an Old™, so nobody should be particularly surprised that I'm ranking albums by a band that dissolved after 1991. But if you're a rock and roll fan and aren't familiar with Dire Straits past "Money for Nothing" and "Sultans of Swing," you must fire up Spotify and start listening. Few British rock bands apart from the obvious – The Beatles, Pink Floyd, the Clash, Led Zepplin, the Rolling Stones – have had such an impact in their era and beyond.
None of their six albums are particularly bad, but some of them are better than others. Will this lead to comment-filling controversy like the posts about pets, beer styles, or salad dressings? Who knows. But you guys would argue about types of igneous rocks, ranked, so I'm expecting big things from you today.
So without further ado, here are the Bournemouth vs. Tottenham Hotspur rankings to the theme of Dire Straits albums.
5 stars: Brothers in Arms (1984)
I'm not sure anyone can argue with this one. Well, okay, of COURSE you can argue with it, what am I saying? But by any reasonable metric, Brothers in Arms is a masterful album. Sure, you've got your "Money for Nothing" and your "Walk of Life" but from start to finish this is the definition of a great album, not just a collection of songs. There isn't a bad track on that album, and some, like "Why Worry" and "The Man's Too Strong" are criminally underrated. This album was the very first CD I ever bought and is always the first one on my list of Desert Island Discs. 30 million copies sold says something: that's more than The Wall, and only 2 million fewer than Sgt. Pepper.
Harry Kane (MOTM): It's about time. Kane finally put everything together, combining his usual high work rate and unselfish passing with three goals. His second, a one-touch off of an exquisite ball from Christian Eriksen, was masterful. Sure, one was a penalty and one was a garbage goal, but who cares -- two weeks ago he misses those chances. And he might have had another penalty if Boruc had been called for grabbing his ankle in the second half. This was the Harry Kane we've been waiting to see.
Artur Boruc (co-MOTM): Wait a minute, doesn't he play for Bournemouth? Well, you wouldn't have thought so. Boruc had an absolute mare between the sticks, fluffing easy chance after easy chance and nearly conceding two penalties. Spurs probably still win this match if he's replaced with a wax statue of the Queen, but it wouldn't nearly have been as much fun.
Christian Eriksen: The Danish Dynamo does it again. He had his fingers all over the successes of Spurs' offense today. He played in Kane in what would turn out to be the penalty, put in a pin-point ball to Kane again for his second, and smacked a 25 yarder off the post, and that's only the highlight reel. On just about any other day, he's man of the match, and the team is that much better when he plays this well.
4 stars: Dire Straits (1979)
Dire Straits' sound has changed a lot since their eponymous debut, but it's awfully hard to top their first release. Sure, everyone knows "Sultans of Swing," but there are some really fantastic tracks on this release. "Down to the Waterline" should be in everyone's top ten Dier Straits songs list, and both "Water of Love" and "Six Blade Knife" are good showcases for Mark Knopfler's distinctive guitar style. A great disc of evolved British pub rock.
Eric Dier: Welcome back, Dierwolf. Paired today beside a combination of Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli, Dier looked as comfortable on the ball as ever on his first league match since his suspension. It's astounding how assured he looks in that defensive midfield position considering his age and relative lack of experience at this position.
Toby Alderweireld: Once again outstanding in defense for Spurs alongside Jan Vertonghen. Rarely put a foot wrong, and even had a goal-line clearance at the end of the first half that might have brought Bournemouth back into it. (Never mind that he botched the initial clearance.) Toby also had a driving header on goal that Kane put in for his third. Toby's already justified his transfer fee and right now is looking like a bargain.
Jan Vertonghen: Another solid outing, and I was particularly impressed with his positioning as Bournemouth attempted to counterattack. A bit wasteful with his passing from the back, but that's being nit-picky. Bournemouth are not a good side, but Jan continues to make even good offenses look mediocre.
Eric Lamela: Kevin McCauley said this in the writer's room during the match: Lamela is never going to be worth the £30m we paid for him, but he's now a solid player and a worthy starter in this Tottenham offense. Good in the press, active in the offense, he picked up a garbage goal to cap off a very nice shift.
Mousa Dembele: Moose was a solid and stabilizing presence alongside Dier today, which is somewhat in contrast to how these two looked against Anderlecht midweek. He alternated going forward with Dele Alli but his main contribution was to the counterpress, which was outstanding against Bournemouth. He continued to use his strength to out-muscle opposition midfielders, and used it to grab himself a nice goal, too. I don't see how you leave him out of the side at this point.
3 stars: On Every Street (1991)
Controversial? Probably. But I really, really love this album. Released six years after Brothers in Arms and with nearly all new performers, you can practically hear the dissolution of the band and the evolution of Knopfler's solo style over the course of the disc. This album is melancholy, with a distinct country-western tinge, but with some outstanding individual songs: "Fade to Black" and "You and Your Friend" are southwestern blues that evoke smoke-filled bars and blue spotlights, "The Bug" is a great upbeat toe-tapper, and "Heavy Fuel" is full of vintage early Dire Straits sound. This album gets panned by the purists, but I love it to death.
Kyle Walker: Spurs seemed to concentrate most of their attacks down the left side through Danny Rose, especially in the second half, which may have been because Walker at times looked a little suspect going forward. Defensively, I thought he was fine. Was subbed off late for what could have been a knock; hopefully it's not serious.
Hugo Lloris: Not at fault for the first goal but was left flat footed when Pugh put his ball off the post at the end of the first half. Some good saves, especially the tip over the bar, but also some scary moments with the ball at his feet. That said, we were never actually ever worried, were we?
Dele Alli: You can't always be masterful. Alli had a decent enough match swapping with Mousa Dembele frequently between the CM and CAM but wasn't as much of a presence offensively as what we've become accustomed to seeing. It looked like he was trying too hard, though he did have a lovely ball that sprung Clinton. His pressing was good, and he effectively helped overload the left side of the pitch with Danny Rose, which helped to free up Eriksen. A good match for Dele, if not a great one.
Ryan Mason: Mason came in as a sub in the 68th minute for his first action since winning the Sunderland match. He did a job: nothing egregious, nothing outstanding, which is all I expected from him in his first match back from injury. Having him back adds more options in midfield, though after so many games away I wonder how he gets back into the starting lineup at this point.
Clinton N'Jie: Sure, sure, he came on in the 85th minute so it's tempting to not give him a rating, but then he went and with his first touch got himself through on goal against Boruc and very nearly scored. That's good enough to get him three stars in my book.
2.5 Stars: Making Movies (1980)
Making Movies is the follow-up album that Dier Straits should've written instead of Communiqué. It has a couple of good hits in "Tunnel of Love" and "Romeo and Juliet" and the sound is consistent with the self-titled first album. It's pretty good, and a natural extension of what the band started with their debut. Good individual hits, pretty good overall album.
Danny Rose: Was nowhere to be found when Ritchie scored in the opening minute as he was pinching in centrally and not marking his man. He also picked up the Danny Rose Special™ (i.e. a cheap yellow card. Overall, he ended up having a pretty decent match, but Rose would be ranked much higher if he'd just cut out the dumb-ass mistakes.
2 stars: Love Over Gold (1982)
Love Over Gold is the closest thing Dier Straits released to a concept album, It's anchored by the 17-minute opening track "Telegraph Road," which was fantastic live, but feels a little self-indulgent. The remainder of the release, four additional songs, feels like an add-on to justify the inclusion of "Telegraph." Which is fine, but not the best way to make an album. That said, I do like "Industrial Disease" as a single.
Honestly? I can't think of any two-star performers in this match. It was that good.
1 star: Communiqué (1979)
After the success of their first album, the group was hurried back into the studio to record a new one. And as the case most of the time when this happens, their sophomore release was a disappointment. It's not that it's BAD, it's just that it's rushed and feels that way. "Lady Writer" is a fantastic song, but the rest of the album feels like they're extensions of various hooks, quickly fleshed out and recorded for an impatient audience that never ended up liking the stuff.