|"Pork and Beans"|
|Single by Weezer|
|from the album Weezer|
|Released||June 16, 2008|
|Genre||Alternative rock, power pop|
|Weezer singles chronology|
"Pork and Beans" is a song by the American alternative rock band Weezer, released on its 2008 album Weezer. It was released in digital form on April 24, 2008. The track debuted at #19 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart, and spent eleven weeks at #1. Critics generally liked the song, especially its chorus and lyrics. Many reviewers, such as David Ritter of Cokemachineglow and Ehren Gresehover of New York Magazine, also thought the song sounded like songs from Weezer's earlier albums in particular The Blue Album (1994) and Pinkerton (1996). The song charted in many countries such as Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom as well as the United States and is Weezer's most successful single to date.
A music video of the song, which incorporated many YouTube celebrities and memes with the band, was premiered first on YouTube and was one of the most popular videos in the weeks following its release. The video won a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video at the 51st Grammy Awards.
Rivers Cuomo, lead singer and guitarist for Weezer, wrote the song in reaction to a meeting with Geffen executives, who told the band members that they needed to record more commercial material. Cuomo remarked, "I came out of it pretty angry. But ironically, it inspired me to write another song." David Ritter speculated that the song was either "voided by the wholesale capitulation involved in going home and writing said commercial material" or "a calculated attempt to boost record sales by wrapping faux-defiance in pretty paper". Jacknife Lee produced the track with the band in early 2008 in what was the third and final recording session for the album. The many references to popular culture in the song are said to be a "statement of defiance" according to Ritter who later describes it to be an "anti-anthem anthem" that opens up a "broad space for critical exploration of what it means to be an aging band in the major label system".
According to the director of the video for "Pork and Beans", the song is about "the idea of being yourself, of being happy with who you are". The introduction to the song makes use of The Chipmunk Effect, which involves speeding up the song by an octave. In the album notes, Cuomo compares this to Timbaland's music, "It actually sounds like a Timbaland kind of production; he has little baby crying type of sounds." A reference is also made to Timbaland in the second verse with the line "Timbaland knows the way to reach the top of the chart". The song has other references to items in popular culture such as Rogaine and Oakley sunglasses. According to Ritter the song contains a "Scorcho-y acoustic guitar" but then says that this, along with the "keyboard twinkles" and "squeals and squeaks", has little effect on the song and that they barely register on top of the much more noticeable lead vocals and power chords.
The song has been generally well received by critics and fans alike. Many reviewers were pleased with what they saw as a return-to-form to the sound of the group's earlier power pop sound, which was present on The Blue Album (1994) and Pinkerton (1996). Pitchfork Media writer Marc Hogan gave the song a positive review and described the song as, "a catchy, self-referential rocker, with the buzzsaw guitars and big choruses of Weezer's glory days, and that familiar, self-assured lameness." Simon Vozick-Levinson of Entertainment Weekly also gave the song a positive review, "That chunka-chunka guitar hook is pure gold, so much so that I didn't focus on Rivers Cuomo's very clever lyrics at first." Stereogum was also impressed with the song stating it was a "sweet, savory dose of self-referential, self-deprecating Weezer rock ... This stuff sounds very familiar in a good, good way." NME described the song as having "[Cuomo's] best chorus in ages".
In terms of chart performance, "Pork and Beans" is Weezer's most successful single in its 16-year career. The song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks charts in only its third week on the charts. It became its ninth Top 10 hit on this chart and third #1 overall and spent 11 weeks at #1, making it one of only 17 songs to ever sit at #1 on that particular chart for 10 weeks or longer and one of three songs to have spent 11 weeks at #1. It also represented its fastest rising single ever, reaching #1 after a mere 11 days after release. It debuted at #39 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, where it is peaked at #25 and debuted in the Billboard Hot 100 at #84 with 17,000 downloads of the song on iTunes and peaked at #64. "Pork and Beans" placed #1 on 102.1 the Edge Top 102 Songs of 2008. This song was #30 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2008.
The song was featured in the 2009 film trailers for Yes Man and Whip It!, and is a playable downloadable song for the Rock Band video game series. It is also a featured song in Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 3.
|U.S. Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||25|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||64|
|U.S. Billboard Pop 100||70|
|Canadian Hot 100||29|
|European Hot 100||92|
|Hot Canadian Digital Singles||25|
|Irish Singles Chart||42|
|UK Singles Chart||33|
|U.S. Hot Digital Songs||47|
|U.S. Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks||35|
The music video for "Pork and Beans" was directed by Mathew Cullen of the video production company Motion Theory and was first released on YouTube by the band on May 23, 2008. The video features many internet phenomena. Many YouTube celebrities joined with the band to film in the video, including Mark Allen Hicks (the "Afro Ninja"), Gary Brolsma, Tay Zonday, Chris Crocker, Caitlin Upton, Liam Kyle "Kelly" Sullivan, Ryan Weiber, Michael "Dorkman" Scott, Judson Laipply, and Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz performing Diet Coke and Mentos eruptions. In addition, the video references other YouTube personalities such as Kevin Federline and Lim Jeong-hyun. Other internet memes mimicked in the video include the Dramatic Chipmunk, parodies of G.I. Joe public service announcements, catching Raybans with one's face, "All Your Base Are Belong to Us", the Dancing Banana, "Will It Blend?", the Soulja Boy dance, "Daft Hands" and "Daft Bodies", the Sneezing Panda, Charlie the Unicorn, the Dancing Baby along with poorly-done CGI versions of Donald Duck and King Kong, and the hoax UFO sighting in Haiti. Dan Dzoan, former world record holder for solving a Rubik's Cube with one hand in 17.90 seconds, was present for the shooting but does not appear in the video, though there are Rubik's Cubes in the video, and Dan is present in another video posted by Weezer to YouTube. Neil Cicierega's Potter Puppet Pals were slated to be in the video but were left out due to problems with shipments of props. A mock-up of the Dumbledore puppet can be seen in the video nonetheless.
The video shares some thematic similarities with the music video for the Barenaked Ladies single "Sound of Your Voice", which also featured multiple YouTube celebrities. According to Cullen, the video was to be a "celebration of that creativity", an idea that went over well with the members of the band. In contrast to an earlier South Park episode, "Canada on Strike" which parodied the YouTube celebrities, Cullen wanted to embrace the concept of "about being happy with who you are". Cullen hopes that the video will be "a living thing on the Internet"; as the video itself was a mash-up of Weezer's favorite stuff, Cullen hopes others will use the video to create their own mash-ups. The YouTube celebrities were flown into Los Angeles, California to work with the band for the four-day shooting of the video. The video, which quickly became popular, reached more than four million viewers in its first week and was that week's most-watched video. It was the most popular video of the month in June, reaching 7.3 million views by June 16, 2008. It was nominated for Best Editing for the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards and for Favorite Online Sensation at the 35th People's Choice Awards. The video won a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video at the 51st Grammy Awards Show.
On January 12, 2009, a remix version of the "Pork and Beans" video was released to YouTube, which included additional footage not previously used in the original video. The new video, in addition to including footage of Dan Dzoan and Potter Puppet Pals, adds in more internet memes and celebrities, including "Badger Badger Badger", Little Superstar, Philippine prison inmates dancing to "Thriller", Leeroy Jenkins, Ronald Jenkees, BigDog, Ask a Ninja, Back Dorm Boys, Line Rider, "I Like Turtles", Techno Viking, and Pickle Surprise, and ends with the viewer being rickrolled. Liz Shannon Miller of NewTeeVee thought the new video lacked originality, however, "We liked the original video, and the Internet famous loved you for including them. But guess what? It’s 2009 now and we’re all wondering, Weezer, what else you got?"