Shangri-La is Mark Knopfler's version of country music, a collection of low-key rock songs filled with carefully crafted stories and smooth yet sophisticated guitar. On "5:15 AM", he spins a contemporary murder ballad, narrating the story of an outlaw found dead in his snow-covered Mercedes. "Our Shangri-La" is more upbeat, with Knopfler reflecting on a perfect day with his lover between meditative, simmering guitar melodies.

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