Bayside open their Cult album with this reflective cut which finds Anthony Raneri reflecting, "And there will be a day when I sadly outlive all my useful traits, and when I look back I want to know we were more than just a fad." It is one of several tracks on the record that finds Raneri singing about the hard matters of life and death, having recently lost his grandfather, stepfather and stepbrother. "[Cult] is pretty different because it's not about broken relationships as much as other records; on a personal level, my relationship has been great, my marriage is good and I've started a family. Instead a lot of this record deals with mortality, without it being morbid," he said.
"I lost a lot of people who were close to me, and it really just started making me think a lot about what my legacy was going to be," Raneri continued. "What am I going to leave behind and what is my entire generation going to leave behind? What are they going to be saying at funerals 40 years from now? It's wondering if life is about leaving a legacy. Is that what we're all here for: living a life worth remembering?"
The phrase "Big Cheese," meaning an important senior person originated in the early 20th century. It's of doubtful origin but may be from the Persian and Urdu word, "Chiz" meaning "thing."
The B-side to Nirvana's first single, "Love Buzz," was also titled "Big Cheese." It has been speculated in that instant that the titular 'Big Cheese' was Sub Pop Records co-owner Jonathan Poneman.