Plateau

Album: Meat Puppets II (1984)
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Songfacts®:

  • This song was popularized when Kurt Cobain personally invited Curt Kirkwood and his brother Kris to perform three of their tunes with Nirvana during the Grunge band's famous 1993 MTV Unplugged appearance. Their version of this tune appears on Nirvana's 1994 album MTV Unplugged in New York. "I've talked to Krist Novoselic and other people," Curt Kirkwood recalled to Mojo magazine January 1995, "and it seems they listened to us a lot before they started the band. I guess they liked our stuff 'cos we took a step away from formulaic hardcore in the early '80s but still had the attitude. Also, both Kurt and I have that high and lonesome country thing in our voices, the way he'd purposely let his voice break, like Jimmie Rodgers or something. The idea of the Unplugged covers came about when we toured with Nirvana a year ago. It was clear that we were on the same trip - Kurt wanted to extend the end part of 'Plateau' for half an hour, and I'd written that song to be cyclical, so you could just space out."
  • Music writer Stephen M. Deusner noted in the book, The Pitchfork 500, that this song is "a tricky, ambiguous metaphor about consumerism, or religion, or the afterlife. If you buy into the last of those" he continued, "then all that awaits you once you die are, allegedly, 'a bucket and a mop and an illustrated book about birds.'"
  • The title of UK rapper/singer Plan B's 2006 debut album, Who Needs Actions When You Got Words, was taken from one of this song's lyrics.

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