Friday, January 14th, 2011
6

The Continuous Multiplicities Of "Money For Nothing"

"'Money for Nothing' was a much bigger hit than anything that Dire Straits had done before; that is, Knopfler made himself into a successful rock star by way of a song about people resenting rock stars' success. He also abandoned his own opposition to making music videos, so the song was marketed with an MTV video in which computer-animated characters disparaged MTV videos—expressing what had previously been Knopfler's actual point of view—which won Video of the Year and helped make the song No. 1. And then, yes, alongside Knopfler's grumbling, working-man's-persona anti-MTV, anti-rock-star lyrics, there was another voice singing the video network's actual marketing slogan, and that voice belonged to, of all people, Sting. So. If you're looking for some moment when art and commerce, integrity and 'selling out,' class solidarity and class envy, performer and spectator, content and advertisement, and assorted other tensions all collapsed into a lucrative and critic-proof singularity*, you could do worse."

6 Comments / Post A Comment

djfreshie (#875)

Why don't they just change the "f" word to "slave." Boom pow everybody's happy.

Flashman (#418)

Canada's national newspaper has come out strongly against the censorship:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/if-a-song-is-pruned-it-can-die/article1869296/

Leon (#6,596)

Still one of the best riff-based songs ever. fuck yeah.

LondonLee (#922)

Christ I saw them live at Wembley once (free tickets, I swear!) and it was the most boring concert I've ever been to. They were utterly devoid of personality. AND it was the first concert I'd been to that had a corporate sponsor (Phillips) and where smoking wasn't allowed.

Rock and roll died that night, my friends.

bronwyn (#3,351)

As Alexei Sayle said "'In the land of the third rate, the second-rate does eleven straight nights at Wembley Arena'…but I think the mass audience has found that it prefers its heroes actually to be mediocrities rather than people possessed of awesome power. After all, the work of genius often needs to comprehend, it requires discrimination and perception of the audience. But the plodding obviousness of the stadium-playing, compact-disc selling geriatrics, your Dire Straits and your Genesises, requires no commitment from the listener, just passive acceptance and clapping their hands when they're told to."

I really am not a fan.

Emily (#20)

When I was a little kid I asked about the lyrics of this song and my dad told me they were singing "chips for free," and I believed him.

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