On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Meat Puppets – Plateau (1984)
We’re leaving Germany and heading over to the US today, dear reader. To Phoenix, Arizona we must go. Formed in 1980, Meat Puppets began with brothers – Curt and Cris Kirkwood – and Derrick Bostrom. The group specialised in experimental rock and country, not catering for the mainstream and tracking their own path through the world of music. When we join them in 1984 their second album, Meat Puppets II, has been released and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Plateau.
Described by Curt Kirkwood as a coming of age song, Plateau seems to describe an individual who is experiencing the world, encompassed in the term “plateau”. It is described as a place where strangers and people known have walked many times before. The lyrics about taking a bucket and mop and cleaning the plateau suggests to me making one’s own mark on the world, perhaps eradicating the things you don’t want and leaving in place a clean plateau that meets your satisfaction. The final verse then talks about searching for a new plateau, perhaps indicating broadening one’s horizons and seeking out new challenges.
Meat Puppets are one of those groups that critics tended to admire but the mass public did not really latch onto. Meat Puppets II is considered one of the best albums of the 1980s critically but how many people have heard it? As with many people, my first awareness of Meat Puppets came when they were invited to join Nirvana’s Unplugged in New York performance in 1993 and three of their songs were played – Oh Me, Lake of Fire and Plateau. They played their part in what was one of Nirvana’s finest hours and for that alone they deserve the recognition they have here.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Doors – The End (1967)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)
The Police – Message in a Bottle (1979)
Ultravox – Vienna (1980)
Don Henley – The Boys of Summer (1984)