So why is Meat Puppets’ Too High To Die on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
There’s an axiom when it comes to writing, which is to tell the truth.
Even if you’re writing fiction, even if a character or narrator is lying, it’s important for the “voice” to come from a truthful place. That’s what people connect to, as opposed to the artifice and posturing and marketing and bulls**t that we all put up with much of the time.
The same is true of all art, of course: truthfulness is essential for connection.
These thoughts play around in my mind while listening to Too High To Die. There’s a core truthfulness and integrity to this band’s sound and songwriting that shines through.
Which is to say that I’d be absolutely astonished if the Meat Puppets started writing songs like “Backwater” or “Evil Love” with the intent of, “Hey guys, I think these are the ones that really gonna pop on rock radio and MTV’s Buzz Bin!”
Which is also to say that truthfulness is a core reason why those songs and Too High To Die is great. It helps of course that the album is wildly rangy and eclectic, consistently interesting and surprising. It flitters between melodic grunge and country, roots, and blues-inspired rock in a way that gets better and better every time I throw it on.
“Backwater” is arguably the band’s biggest hit, though Meat Puppets never achieved the massive commercial success of some of their contemporaries. “Melodic grunge” is the best way to describe it, though you can also feel a little country influence. It’s also a well-constructed and tight song with a really nice grungy hook.
Like many, I probably heard of Meat Puppets for the first time by way of Nirvana’s Unplugged performance on MTV. Kurt Cobain brought a few members of the band on stage and the entire crew performed the Meat Puppets’ songs “Lake of Fire” and “Plateau.”
While “Lake of Fire” was originally released on Meat Puppets II, back in 1984, it also appears on Too High To Die. If you’re like me, and you’ve listened to Nirvana’s Unplugged… uh, many times, it’s really interesting to think about the versions of “Lake of Fire” and “Plateau” in comparison to one another.
In any event, Meat Puppets’ “Lake of Fire” is a wildly original song, another spin on country-ish grunge, this time with a quieter bent (and a mix of acoustic and electric guitars).
The more I listen to Too High To Die, the more I’m taken with “Evil Love.” There’s much about it that could have been a hit 1980s pop song, but it’s processed through the unique sensibilities of the Meat Puppets, making for an incredible original creation.
Some stats & info about Meat Puppets – Too High To Die
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Indie Rock, Alternative Rock, Grunge
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Too High To Die released? 1994
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #490 out of 1,000
Meat Puppets’ Too High To Die on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from Meat Puppets’ Too High To Die that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
Exchange our fears for little glass holes and broken dreams of bent-backed trolls.
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.