Humans have a long relationship with pigs. After all, we domesticated them in prehistoric times. Since then, we have brought them worldwide, much to the detriment of more than one native ecosystem. Still, pigs are undoubtedly one of the most critical domesticated animals, as shown by their countless appearances in past and present media. Despite this, they aren’t held in high regard. There are some well-known songs about pigs, but most use the creatures as less than flattering metaphors.
Here are ten of the best songs about pigs ever released:
10. “Guyute” – Phish
Phish is an eclectic band that formed in the 1980s, took some time off in the 2000s, and resumed playing in the same decade. “Guyute” is one of their songs with memorable though somewhat surreal lyrics. The title refers to a not-so-pleasant pig, which makes one suspect it’s an example of metaphor. However, he’s described doing such strangely non-porcine things that one can’t help but doubt one’s conclusions. Either way, “Guyute” is interesting.
9. “Pigs in Zen” – Jane’s Addiction
“Pigs in Zen” is a rare example of an artist showing a sense of almost admiration for the titular animals. The singer has no illusions about them being noble, high-minded creatures. Instead, he envies them precisely because he sees them as simple beings who do nothing but indulge their instincts without regard for the judgment of others. A way of life he can’t follow because he’s so keenly aware of the latter. The singer knows the pig will be butchered for meat as the price for living this way. Even so, his state of mind is such that he almost thinks this might be a worthwhile tradeoff.
8. “March of the Pigs” – Nine Inch Nails
“March of the Pigs” is a well-known song from Nine Inch Nails. There’s no mistaking the seething hostility. However, listeners debate the exact target Trent Reznor aimed at. Some think the song’s aimed at general society, while others believe the man was thinking of the people trying to use him in one way or another.
7. “Run, Pig, Run” – Queens of the Stone Age
“Run, Pig, Run” is one of the more memorable songs from 2007’s Era Vulgaris. Once again, the singer is driven by a sense of anger. The critical difference is that it’s much easier to figure out that he’s furious at someone he believes has wronged him, so much so that he’s out for revenge.
6. “Pig In a Pen” – Stanley Brothers
As strange as it sounds, “Pig In a Pen” is a love song in which the singer longs for someone special to complete his life. It makes more sense when interested individuals realize that pigs were a common element of American small farms in the past. Pigs couldn’t provide milk or wool. However, they could provide meat, particularly for someone willing to use every part of the animal rather than restrict themselves to the choicest bits. More importantly, raising pigs was convenient in a way that raising other livestock wasn’t. Their opportunism meant they could forage from a broad range of food sources, meaning their owners didn’t have to make much effort until it was time to fatten them up for the final reckoning. As such, “Pig In a Pen” sells the idea of a life that’s next to being complete, with the last remaining element being a love interest.
5. “Swine” – Lady Gaga
“Swine” is about someone the singer finds disgusting. It makes perfect sense when one learns that it was based on Lady Gaga’s experience of having been raped.
4. “Pigs” – Cypress Hill
There’s a longstanding idea that the police can be compared to pigs. It’s so powerful that listeners often interpret every song about pigs as being about police. That isn’t true in most cases. However, it’s true in this Cypress Hill song. The lyrics show it’s about abusive practices by law enforcement. They outright describe police taking bribes, harassing people, and being in cahoots with organized crime while failing to protect the communities they work in.
3. “Piggies” – The Beatles
“Piggies” is another song about people rather than real pigs. As the story goes, George Harrison wrote it as a relatively light-hearted mockery of the upper classes, as shown by the imagery of pigs eating pork. Unfortunately, people often remember “Piggies” because Charles Manson was obsessed with it. Something that has overshadowed the song itself to some extent.
2. “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” – Pink Floyd
“Pigs (Three Different Ones)” is an intensely political song criticizing politicians pursuing personal interests before the public good. Unfortunately, it loses some points because it’s rooted in its times. The lyrics refer to politicians and political figures who died years and years ago. As such, the song has lost some of its emotional punch, though it remains a solid listen.
1. “War Pigs” – Black Sabbath
“War Pigs” is an anti-war song. It came out in 1970. Unsurprisingly, people guessed it was about the Vietnam War, though the band members have issued contradictory statements. Regardless, “War Pigs” expresses the notion of war as the ultimate evil. At one point, the song was named “Walpurgisnacht” to further connect war with devils, witches, and archetypically wicked things. That didn’t pass muster, thus resulting in a name change to “War Pigs.” Luckily, that name has proven even more evocative while still fitting the general theme. After all, pigs are strongly associated with overwhelming greed that comes at the expense of other considerations.
You can also read:
- Ranking the 10 Best Beatles Albums of All-Time
- The 10 Best Mr. Mister Songs of All-Time
- The 20 Best Lady Gaga Songs of All-Time
- The 20 Best Pink Floyd Songs of All-Time
- Ranking All 19 Black Sabbath Studio Albums