Across the Sea

From Weezerpedia
"Across the Sea"
Across the Sea cover
Album track by Weezer
Album Pinkerton
Released September 24, 1996
Recorded Spring, 1996 at Sound City Studios, Van Nuys, CA
Length 4:32
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Rivers Cuomo
RC# 214
Producer(s) Weezer
Status Released
Pinkerton track listing
"Why Bother?"
"Across the Sea"
"The Good Life"
Rivers Cuomo song chronology
"El Scorcho"
(RC# 213)
"Across the Sea"
(RC# 214)
"The Good Life"
(RC# 215)

"Across the Sea" is the fifth track on Pinkerton.



I didn't shave my head but I asked my mother if I could, and I said I wanted to be a monk, but my parents talked me out of it. And technically I was asking to be a sannyasa, not a Catholic monk
—Rivers Cuomo, 2014 Reddit Q&A[1]

Rivers Cuomo wrote "Across the Sea" in 1996 while attending Harvard.[2] The previous spring, Cuomo had undergone a painful surgical procedure to lengthen his leg, which had grown shorter than the other due to a congenital femoral deficiency,[2][3] requiring him to maneuver with the aid of a cane. While at Harvard, Cuomo went unrecognized by fans, to his delight, but he found himself lonely and struggled to write new songs. "I don't have any meaningful relationships here at school" Cuomo wrote to fans in February of 1996,[2][4] "and, unfortunately, relationships are the only thing I know how to write about."

In the spring of 1996, Cuomo received a letter from a Japanese fan asking questions about his life. "I had fantasies over this letter," said Cuomo,[5] "I realized that I’d completely shut myself off from life, but I was still aware of Eros inside me. I hadn’t eliminated that part of me at all. I wasn’t a monk. I was just a perverted hermit." Cuomo subsequently used the contents of the letter to write a song, "Across the Sea." "She basically wrote the lyrics to the first verse and part of the chorus, too," Cuomo later said of the girl.[6] She has since, reportedly, received royalties for her contribution.[6][5] When Weezer later toured Japan, Cuomo considered meeting her, but ultimately decided it would have been too embarassing.[6][7] "I don't know anything about her and I've never contacted her." said Cuomo.[8]

The lyrics also allude to Cuomo's adolescent consideration of becoming a Buddhist sannyasi[1] before ultimately deciding to pursue music. "I went to my parents' Zen master and I said, 'Life is shit, I want to shave my head and do this,'" Cuomo recalled in a 2001 interview,[9] "He's like, 'You know what? Being a monk is shit too, so I can't advise that for you. What you should do is really listen to yourself and see what path would make you the most excited and just go do that, however crazy it seems.'[...]And it took me about five seconds and I was like, 'I want to be a rock star.'"

The song's piano instrumental has been said to symbolize Cuomo's depression while attending Harvard.[5] In 2010, an isolated take of the intro was released as part of the Deluxe Edition of Pinkerton (dubbed "Across the Sea (Piano Noodles).") The song's guitar solo contains a relatively complex chord progression, during which the key modulates from G major to E major (the parallel major of the original key's relative minor). The following bridge remains in the key of E major, then modulates back to G for the final verse and chorus.

The song is also the namesake for the Across the Sea: Live in Japan concert video filmed in 2005 while on the Japanese Mos Burger Tour.




You are 18-year-old girl who live in small city of Japan
You heard me on the radio about one year ago
And you wanted to know all about me and my hobbies
My favorite food and my birthday

Why are you so far away from me?
I need help and you're way across the sea
I could never touch you; I think it would be wrong
I've got your letter, you've got my song

They don't make stationery like this where I'm from, so fragile, so refined
So I sniff and I lick your envelope and fall to little pieces every time
I wonder what clothes you wear to school; I wonder how you decorate your room
I wonder how you touch yourself and curse myself for being across the sea

Why are you so far away from me?
I need help and you're way across the sea
I could never touch you; I think it would be wrong
I've got your letter and you've got my song

At ten, I shaved my head and tried to be a monk
I thought the older women would like me if I did
You see, ma', I'm a good little boy
It's all your fault, momma, it's all your fault
Goddamn, this business is really lame
I gotta live on an island to find the juice
So you send me your love from all around the world
As if I could live off words and dreams and a million screams
Oh, how I need a hand to mine to feel.

Why are you so far away from me?
Why are you so far away from me?
I could never touch you; I think it would be wrong
I've got your letter, you've got my song
I've got your letter, you've got my song

Known recordings

Performer(s) Title Filename Date of recording Recording location Length Appeared on Notes
Weezer Across the Sea Spring 1996 Sound City, Los Angeles, CA 4:34 Pinkerton
Weezer Across the Sea Spring 1996 Sound City, Los Angeles, CA 0:38 Pinkerton (Deluxe Edition) Listed as "Across the Sea (Piano Noodles)"
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See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Reddit Q&A with Rivers Cuomo - November 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Cuomo, Rivers. The Pinkerton Diaries. 2011. Self-published
  3. Ilizarov Procedure, Riverpedia.
  4. Weezine Issue 6 - Spring 1996, pg. 4
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Daley, David. "Happy [cancelled] Days". Alternative Press, January 1997.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Catlin, Roger. "Weezer's worry" The Hartford Courant. 4 December 1996.
  7. Michele, Amabile. "Setting the record straight" The Central New Jersey Home News 20 June 1997.
  8. Rivers Cuomo Fan Interview 2006
  9. Cromelin, Richard. "Where's Weezer Been?" Los Angeles Times. 12 May 2001. Transcript