METADATA: Weezer - “Pork And Beans”
Hello, and welcome to Metadata! In this weekly column, I’ll be profiling songs that feature insider commentary about different aspects of the music industry.
In honor of their upcoming ninth studio album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, our first column installment will be Weezer’s “Pork And Beans.” The track was the first single off the band’s self-titled album, and its inspiration lies with label execs who demanded a more commercial record from them during a meeting, and not for the first time in their career. After their ENORMOUSLY successful first record (yes, the blue one), their 1996 follow-up, Pinkerton, was a commercial and (initially) critical failure. The band recoiled and has since been polarizing audiences by trying to tow the line between pop hits and deeply written, deeply felt stories of love and loss.
“Pork And Beans” begins with lead singer Rivers Cuomo listing things “they” say he should do – get a thicker head of hair, lose weight, wear what’s in style. He even name-checks pop producer Timbaland, perhaps implying that some gatekeepers were playing matchmaker. In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Cuomo admits that one of the group’s lowest points occurred five years ago in the midst of low album sales. “It was easy for a rock band to get depressed. We were at a label where the president, every time we’d go in for a meeting, would say, ‘Rock is dead.’” Though he doesn’t name names, RS surmises that the suit in question is then-Interscope head, Jimmy Iovine. Rock isn’t dead, but if someone at the helm of one of the biggest imprints says so, people sure might start to think it.