The album is darker than previous Primus efforts, featuring lyrics dealing with murder, suicide, and alienation. The band has commented that prior to recording, they had been touring for nearly two solid years and were thus in a sombre mood.
Regarding the song "Wounded Knee" drummer Tim Alexander said "I needed a name. I was reading this book called "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee". It was something I never really thought about before... I mean how this country came to be. We are taught to be so proud. But a lot of what we have is based on lies and deceit. They only teach you what they want you to know. I hope people will see the title and check it out. Next time you listen to `Wounded Knee', try and put the story and the music together. The rhythm and the pulse, there is an element of it that is angry then peaceful."
In his review for Allmusic, Steve Huey contends that Pork Soda is "one of the strangest records ever to debut in the Top Ten." He notes that the album "showcases the band's ever-increasing level of musicianship" and that "[their] ensemble interplay continues to grow in complexity and musicality", although "[the] material isn't quite as consistent as Seas of Cheese". He concludes that "the band keeps finding novel variations on their signature sound, even if they never step out of it." Reviewing the album for Entertainment Weekly, Deborah Frost notes that "the band is starting to gel". She describes Pork Soda as "goofy" and "Zappa-esque", predicting that the "alternative-metal-fusion will appeal mostly to folks who like a little fizz with their lard." In his review for the album, Robert Christgau calls Primus "quite possibly the strangest top-10 band ever, and good for them." Tom Sinclair, for Rolling Stone, describes the album as "an amalgam of elements that have no reason to be joined together in a sane universe", noting that "the band invokes the circa '69 Mothers of Invention and Trout Mask Replica-era Captain Beefheart as often as it does George Clinton or Bootsy Collins." He concludes that "hard-core funk-metal freaks may find it all a bit diffuse, but if you think it's high time surrealism entered the mosh pits of America, Pork Soda just may be your cup of meat."