Deadweight (song)

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Single by Beck
Released October 27, 1997 (UK)
1997 (US)
Format CD Single
Recorded 1997
Genre Alternative rock, indie pop

6:12 (album)

4:42 (single)
Label Geffen Records
Songwriter(s) Beck Hansen
Producer(s) Beck Hansen, The Dust Brothers
Beck singles chronology

"Deadweight" is a single by Beck,[1] taken from the soundtrack to the film A Life Less Ordinary. The song was nominated for Best Song from a Movie at the 1998 MTV Movie Awards, but lost out to Will Smith's "Men in Black". The song can also be found (in lossy) on the deluxe version of Odelay.


Beck recorded "Deadweight" with The Dust Brothers between Odelay and Mutations. It was released on the soundtrack to A Life Less Ordinary at the end of 1997. In contrast with the buoyant, lively melody, Beck adds his own Gram Parsons-style hard luck lyrics about gambling, Las Vegas, and loneliness. Beck has mentioned that this song was a part of his "Brazilian trilogy". Unlike "Tropicalia", which is a bossa nova song, "Deadweight" uses its Brazilian influence more as part of a larger funky brew. As Beck said in USA Today, "I'm trying to get to a place where this merging of styles is so fluent and natural that you don't notice the different snippets, a musical consciousness where there's no preconceived ideas". An edited version without the noise breakdown coda was also put out as a single.[2]


Beck recorded most of the song by himself, playing bass, keyboards, drum machine, and all the guitars; though the scratching is uncredited, it was most likely one of The Dust Brothers, who produced the track.

Music video[edit]

The video for this song features Beck working at a desk on the beach, then he goes on holiday to an office. He eventually ends up at a movie theatre showing A Life Less Ordinary. The video is intercut with scenes from the movie.

"Erase the Sun" and "SA-5"[edit]

The remaining two tracks on the single -- "Erase the Sun" and "SA-5"—provide direct links to Mutations with lyrical fragments that would end up almost word-for-word in future songs.[3]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Deadweight" (edit) - 4:07
  2. "Erase the Sun" - 3:16
  3. "SA-5" - 1:52


  • Beck Hansen: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, organ, mellotron, synthesizer, piano
  • The Dust Brothers: turntables, drum machine

Music video[edit]

This song has a music video directed by Michel Gondry. It interweaves footage from A Life Less Ordinary with images of Beck, who lives in a paradoxical world.[4]


In the United Kingdom, the song reached number 23 on the UK Singles Chart. In the United States, it charted on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, peaking at number 16. In Australia, "Deadweight" peaked at number 73 in January 1998.[5]


  1. ^ "Beck - Deadweight - Single - Musicvf". November 1997. Retrieved 2012-06-30. 
  2. ^ "Beck - Deadweight - Edit - Discogs". 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  3. ^ "Beck - "Erase the Sun" and "SA-5" - Review - Billboard". 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-30. 
  4. ^ "Beck - Deadweight Official Music Video - Video - Youtube". 2009-10-07. Retrieved 2012-06-30. 
  5. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.