"...that nobody even considered important.How is this album so entirely overlooked? It's among the best Meat Puppets discs, and consdering some of the highs this band had, that's saying a lot. It's got some of their best material as well as some of their most inventive ideas and tightest performances (few guitar players were more fluid and graceful on their instrument than Kirkwood). The first time I played opening track "Sam" for a friend we were in hysterics over how over the top and insane the song is. "I can't even THINK that fast," was all he could keep saying while shaking his head. Then I played "That's How It Goes", and I watched Matt's face light up as he heard the lyrics recounting a shameless philandering woman and he whispered, "At last...I am understood." Other great songs include rebellious, restless "This Day", the touching "Whirlpool", and the stoner, slacker insight of the title track.Throughout the album the lyrics are impressionistic, evocative, nonsensical, and brilliant. I remember one time several years ago driving in my car and suddenly undertanding all the lyrics, meanings of the songs, and then having an epiphany and realizing that the disc is a concept album about God, the universe, and the humidity in Arizona.I got to the 7-11, got out for a minute to pick up some cigarettes and coffee filters, and the enitre vision has completely receded and vanished and I have not had clue one as to what ... is going on with Kirkwood's lyrics ever since.Now THAT'S greatness."
Why is this album out of print?
John Alapick | Wilkes-Barre, PA United States | 07/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Forbidden Places was the Meat Puppets' debut album on a major label after recording several strong albums on SST Records. Although these albums have since been re-released by Rykodisc, this album for reasons unknown remains out of print. That's a shame because this is a very good album possessing not only much of the punk and country influences from their previous releases but also the melodic material that compromised their next and biggest selling album Too High To Die. Like Too High To Die, Forbidden Places is a very diverse collection and most of the tracks are very good. The opening track "Sam" is one of the great rapid-fire lyric songs ala R.E.M.'s "It's The End Of The World As We Know It" only cooler with its lightning fast intro and chugging guitar line during the chorus. "Nail It Down" is also a strong track that would have sounded great on AOR radio when they still played cool up and coming bands. The tracks "Whirlpool", "This Day", and "Another Moon" are all melodic rockers that would have fit in well on Too High To Die. The straight country of "That's How It Goes" and the title track are also very good. The heavier tracks "Popskull" and "Open Wide" are decent, but not as strong as the rest of the album. However, it's the killer cowpunk instrumental "Six Gallon Pie", along with the aforementioned "Sam", that are the best tracks here. A very good album that truly deserves to be re-released since it's better than most of the music being put out these days."
All great tracks -- no filler!
John Alapick | 04/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Meat Puppets really come into their own on this album. They effortlessly switch from power-rock to punk to melancholy ballads, held together by great lead vocals and cleverly obtuse lyrics (think They Might Be Giants). There really isn't a bad song on the entire CD. Though the Puppets finally broke into the mainstream with Too High To Die, this albums is their best."
Another classic display of warped alt. country via The Pups
drumb | milwaukee, wi United States | 07/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Meat Puppets major label debut, an unbelievable feat in itself, is one of those rare and wonderful albums that paints a complete and detailed vision in the listener's mind, without relying on some grandiose conceptual framework. The scene that "Forbidden Places" conveys, the group's beloved ancient, southern desert, is not so far removed from the Pups' greater body of work, but the vivid imagery in which Forbidden Places portrays it easily makes this album one of their best yet. Opening with the jumbled, lightning-quick "Sam", the Pup's conjure up the aural equivalent of a roaring sandstorm only to quickly transition to the ZZ Topesque "Nail it Down," which sounds more than anything like a tribute to the old west. These instant transitions, fast turnarounds, and stylistic leaps continue throughout the album and immediately establish a cyclical frenzy akin to the constantly churning, aforementioned desert. Curt Kirkwood's psychedelic lyrics and acid drenched poetry also play a major part in crafting this musical replica of the old southwest. Lines like "In those days there was zero waste, now the waste of time is life," and "days of hiding in the sunshine, feeling nighttime's falling down" describe the utter desolation and ultimate sense of emptiness that the desert has to offer, which can be either spiritually cleansing or maniacally destructive depending on your perspective. However, while lyrical insights and beautiful imagery enhance Forbidden Places in ways that are almost indescribable, the album's basic framework is still the most important key to it's success. As always, The Pups generate a concise set of verse chorus verse rockers that feign the simplicity of punk rock and feed off the complexity of folk. The consistent variety, impressive musicianship, and clever songwriting are what truly make the album work because without a firm foundation, Forbidden Places could have easily become an excruciating exercise in overblown, Prog rock conceptualism. Because of their strong rock roots, the Meat Puppets are able to deftly execute an album that in any other hands would have certainly been weighed down by it's own plot and the band therefore creates an album that is worthy of any rock critic's praises."