(estimated read time: 5 minutes)
SONG MEANING: “Bacon” is about a relationship that’s over. Jonas is tired of his girlfriend and wants something new. Keep reading for more.
Breaking it down…
Nick Jonas released “Bacon” featuring Ty Dolla $ign on June 3rd, 2016 as part of his upcoming album “Last Year Was Complicated.” It’s probably going to be/was a pop hit, but nobody actually gets what it’s about. People who don’t listen closely think that Jonas is saying he likes bacon better than his ex, but that’s not the case.
In the first verse, Jonas sings, “Pretty mind, silk thoughts / Start a fire when you turn the lights off.” Jonas is describing this woman (the indefinite “you”) as very attractive and as sexy. The lights going off is a clear reference to things “getting hot” late at night. He continues, “Oh my, my God / When he made you, he did a fine job.” He thinks she’s beautiful, and he acknowledges that to her.
In the pre-chorus, though the conflict or problem-to-be-solved appears. While Jonas likes this girl, he doesn’t want to stay with her. He sings, “I know you been hoping I give in / But I ain’t feeling that feeling, no.” She wants them to continue to “be a thing” or for them to “become an official thing,” but he doesn’t want that. She apparently accuses him of being crazy because he agrees, “Yeah, you right, maybe I’m tripping,” but there’s “one thing I love more than being with you.”
And this is where everyone gets it wrong. It’s not bacon that he loves more than her. It’s “late nights, doing what I wanna do” and “no ties, no drama in my life.” He wants to escape the drama she causes and the commitments she requires. He wants to not have to come home to spend time with her, but to be able to go where he wants to go.
He wants to be able to wake up with “sleep eyes” because he came in so late the night before. He wants to be able to “throw some bacon on” the frying pan after he’s woken up late after a long night of doing whatever it is he wants to do.
This song isn’t actually about bacon. It’s about him being able to choose to stay up late, go where he wants, or even eat bacon (or anything else) if and when he wants. He doesn’t want to be tied down or over-committed.
Verse 2 is more about him arguing with himself/his ex about their relationship. He describes her as “[s]izzling, white hot.” (Sort of like bacon?) She’s giving him “that sugar with the sweet talk” to try to get him to say, but he still decides “[y]ou’re perfect, but I’m not,” which causes him to question how then they ended “up in the worst spot?” Essentially, he’s asking, “If you’re this great, why do I want to leave so badly?” He doesn’t seem to be accusing her of anything, but seems to be questioning his own decision for just a moment, a moment that doesn’t last very long.
In the bridge, Ty Dolla $ign raps his own name twice and then sings, “Girl, every time we get together, it’s a movie / You on top, got me feeling on your booty. He’s saying that they’re good together, that someone could make a movie about how good their life is, though the second line brings into question whether it’d be a Hallmark or a porno.
He continues, “Know you ready when you know there’s other girls around / Won’t admit it, but you’re acting so different know.” Apparently, she’s seemed more jealous recently or has been asking for more commitment, perhaps prompting the narrator’s desire to detach himself from her.
Ty Dolla $ign continues, “And it’s hard to just let go like that / When your man with the party, you go way back / And the love’s what keeps you coming back / In love with a bad bitch down my back.” She get jealous when he’s out having fun with other people, so she’s started nagging him and refusing to let go or let him go where he wants to go–that’s the narrator’s accusation anyway.
My questions for the song meaning community:
- Do you think this is a good song?
- How do you measure “good” music?
- What do you like about this song?
- Do you think this relationship is a healthy one?
- The big question: How do you think portrayals of relationships like this one affect tweens and teens in relationships?
Deeper thoughts…and a takedown…
The relationship in “Bacon” is going south in because Jonas wants to have fun and feel unrestricted. The girlfriend wants him to value her more than his other interests, so she’s begun nagging him and acting jealous. It’s spiraling out of control. Altogether, neither seems to understand how a relationship works, and perhaps it’s best that they’re taking a break for now.
This song bothers me because it glorifies what seems to be a pretty horrible relationship. The guy doesn’t want to commit (which you have to do in a relationship), and she’s expressing her need through manipulation (“sweet talk”) and nagging (“bad bitch down my back”).
Glorifying this kind of terrible communication and selfishness in a song can only harm teens and tweens. Everyone has a “picture” in their heads of an ideal relationship and an ideal way to operate in a relationship. Someone with powerful celebrity like Jonas is going to help shape impressionable listener’s already skewed and underdeveloped mental maps of how relationships work.
Not only that, but I think it’s obvious that Jonas is using bacon as a pop culture “phenomenon” to get people to listen to his song. This song really isn’t about bacon, but all of the visitor-hungry, big-name entertainment magazines are latching onto this poorly named song in a hackneyed, click-baity attempt to gain a few more views.
That being said, I like the music and would be willing to dance to this song, but I don’t like the cheap marketing trick, the lyrics, or the significance the lyrics have for our youth culture.
Thanks for reading! I’m a college English instructor, university writing center director, and online entrepreneur (college for under $15k, anyone?) who cares deeply about TRUTH and MEANING. I’m married to the gloriously beautiful Wife April and love to swing dance and juggle.