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Music / Communiqué

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"She's just lying there in silent pain."

"Where will you be when your Communiqué arrives?"
Tagline from the album's advertising campaign.

Communiqué, released in 1979 through Vertigo Records in the UK and Warner (Bros.) Records in the US, is the second studio album by English roots rock group Dire Straits. Recorded just after the end of the supporting tour for their debut album, this follow-up sees the band continue the blues-inspired, rural-sounding style of music that characterized its predecessor, but orients it in a more laid back and contemplative direction. The lyricism in particular sees a noticeable shift in style, with more ironic portraits of its characters and settings that would grow in prominence on the band's later material. The record was notably the last to feature the involvement of frontman Mark Knopfler's brother, David, who would quit the band during sessions for their next album due to Creative Differences with Mark.

Communiqué peaked at No. 5 in the UK and No. 11 in the US and topped the charts in Germany, New Zealand, Spain, and Sweden. It would later be certified triple-platinum in Switzerland, double-platinum in Canada and France, platinum in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain, and gold in the US, Austria, Finland, New Zealand, and Sweden.

Communiqué was supported by one single: "Lady Writer".


Side One
  1. "Once Upon a Time in the West" (5:25)
  2. "News" (4:14)
  3. "Where Do You Think You're Going?" (3:49)
  4. "Communiqué" (5:49)

Side Two

  1. "Lady Writer" (3:45)
  2. "Angel of Mercy" (4:36)
  3. "Portobello Belle" (4:29)
  4. "Single-Handed Sailor" (4:42)
  5. "Follow Me Home" (5:50)

She thinks she's tough— she ain't no English trope:

  • Alliterative Title: "Single-Handed Sailor"
  • Anti-Love Song: "Where Do You Think You're Going?" is narrated by an arrogant guy who drives off his partner with his prideful attitude.
  • Breather Episode: "Lady Writer" is the only upbeat-sounding song on an album that's otherwise very quiet and brooding.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The album cover depicts a lavish painting of a man wandering the desert at night, tucked within an envelope that sits against a deceptively flat blue background.
  • English Rose: The trope is mentioned by name in the chorus of "Portobello Belle".
  • Epic Rocking: "Follow Me Home" falls just short of six minutes.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: The album closes with the 5:50 "Follow Me Home".
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Angel of Mercy" opens with Mark Knopfler singing the first few words of the song unaccompanied before the instruments kick in.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: Barring the detailed envelope painting, the album cover is otherwise just a band name and title in sans serif font against a flat blue background.
  • New Sound Album: While still the same roots rock heard on the band's previous album, this record marks a shift to slower, more downbeat music with greater lyrical irony. The album also sees the first hints of the band's later, more atmospheric sound, not just from the shift in mood, but also on touches like the drumbeat-driven ending on "News".
  • One-Word Title: Communiqué, "News", "Communiqué".
  • Poor Communication Kills: The subject matter of "Communiqué", in which a man's verbal evasiveness ultimately results in the local rumor mill swallowing him up.
  • Shout-Out: The opening line of "Angel of Mercy" mentions "a Peter Pan moon."
  • Title Track: "Communiqué"
  • The Western: "Once Upon a Time in the West" is a deconstruction of this setting, being a Revisionist Western tale that goes out of its way to show how brutal and inglorious the Wild West actually was.