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"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 to Will Smith's "Men in Black". The song can also be found on the deluxe version of Odelay. Beck has not performed the song since August 20, 2002.[2]

Single by Beck
ReleasedOctober 27, 1997 (UK)
1997 (US)
FormatCD Single
GenreAlternative rock, indie pop
Length6:12 (album) 4:42 (single)
Songwriter(s)Beck Hansen
Producer(s)Beck Hansen, The Dust Brothers
Beck singles chronology


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.[3]


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.[4]

"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.[5]

Track listingEdit

  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 videoEdit

The song's music video was directed by Michel Gondry. It features Beck - who lives in a paradoxical world - working at a desk on the beach, then going 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.[6]


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.[7]


  1. ^ "Beck - Deadweight - Single - Musicvf". November 1997. Retrieved June 30, 2012.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Beck - Deadweight - Edit - Discogs". 2012. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Beck - "Erase the Sun" and "SA-5" - Review - Billboard". 2012. Retrieved June 30, 2012.
  6. ^ "Beck - Deadweight Official Music Video - Video - Youtube". October 7, 2009. Retrieved June 30, 2012.
  7. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.