Undone - The Sweater Song

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"Undone - The Sweater Song"
Undone - The Sweater Song cover
Single by Weezer
Album Weezer (The Blue Album)
Released June 24, 1994
Recorded August-September 1993 at Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY
Length 5:05
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Rivers Cuomo
RC# 114
COR# N/A
Producer Ric Ocasek
Status Officially released
Professional reviews
Rivers Cuomo song chronology
"Make Me a Pallet"
(RC# 113)
"Undone - The Sweater Song"
(RC# 114)
"Why Do We Hurt Eachother?"
(RC# 115)
Weezer singles chronology
"Undone - The Sweater Song"
1994
"Buddy Holly"
1994
Weezer (The Blue Album) track listing
"Buddy Holly"
(4)
"Undone - The Sweater Song"
(5)
"Surf Wax America"
(6)
The Kitchen Tape track listing
"Let's Sew Our Pants Together"
(3)
"Undone - The Sweater Song"
(4)
"Paperface"
(5)
Weezer's third demo track listing
"Say It Ain't So"
(3)
"Undone - The Sweater Song"
(4)
"Surf Wax America"
(5)
Alternate cover
Cover of the European Retail CD
Cover of the European Retail CD

"Undone - The Sweater Song" is the first single ever released by Weezer. It was the fifth track and first single from Weezer (The Blue Album).

Appearances

Overview

Lead singer Rivers Cuomo has commented many times on the song's inception. Said Cuomo, "I took typing, Psych 101, and English 101 that semester. It was in my English class that I heard the analogy of the unraveling sweater. Dr. Eisenstein used the image to demonstrate the effectiveness of focused thesis statement in an essay. 'All I have to do is hold a single thread in your sweater and it will unravel as you walk away.' [1]" Additionally, Cuomo has stated, "'Undone' is the feeling you get when the train stops and the little guy comes knockin' on your door. It was supposed to be a sad song, but everyone thinks it’s hilarious."

In 2009, Cuomo admitted to Rolling Stone that "Undone" was an "almost complete rip-off" of "Sanitarium" by the band Metallica. Said Cuomo, "I was trying to write a Velvet Underground-type song because I was super into them, and I came up with that guitar riff. I just picked up that acoustic guitar and the first thing I played was that riff. And it just feels so classic to me, even now when the band starts to play it, it just takes over the energy in the room and you’re just transported into the world of Weezer. It wasn’t until years after I wrote it that I realized it’s almost a complete rip-off of ‘Sanitarium’ by Metallica. It just perfectly encapsulates Weezer to me – you’re trying to be cool like Velvet Underground but your metal roots just pump through unconsciously."

Early concepts for the dialogue sections in the song was to utilize a sound collage assembled by longtime friend of the band, Karl Koch. This concept was carried through the recording of The Blue Album, but Geffen Records were wary of the cost of licensing the samples, and put a halt to that version. Late in the album's production, a spoken version of dialogue was recorded at the Amherst house, by bassist Matt Sharp and Koch, as well as a dialogue between Koch and Mykel Allan. The tapes were then sent overnight to New York to be 'flown in' to the final mix. When performed live, these sections typically featured improvised banter by the band. In the 2010s, however, the band began simply playing a recording of the dialogue heard on the album version.

The distinct guitar tone for the "Undone" intro came out of a specific section of The Blue Album recording process, during which Cuomo and original guitarist Jason Cropper spent a few days in the attic of Electric Ladyland studios focusing only on the record's guitar parts[2].

Music Video

How most of the world has introduced to the band. The reign of Spike Jonze begins here! This was roughly take 15 or 20 out of about 25. By this point the band had abandoned hope of doing a serious take, and thank goodness!
-Karl Koch on the "Undone" music video, from the liner notes for Video Capture Device

The music video for "Undone" was Weezer's first music video. According to Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story by John D. Luerssen, the band insisted that the video not have anything to do with a sweater. Yet, Geffen received twenty five treatments for the video, all involving sweaters, including one in which the band played in a sweater factory, and another wherein all four band members were together in one giant sweater. The video marks one of the early directorial efforts of Spike Jonze, whose pitch was simply "A blue stage, a steadicam, a pack of wild dogs." The $60,000 video was shot on a steadicam in one unbroken take, featuring the band playing to a sped up version of the song. When played at a slower speed, the illusion is created that the band is playing the song in the correct time, yet moving in slow motion. The one take was shot over twenty five times and the final version is somewhere between shot #15 and shot #20, in which the band had abandoned the idea of taking the video seriously at all. The humor was brought on by the frustration of shooting the same take over and over to a sped up version of the song as well as the fact that one of the dogs defecated on Patrick Wilson's bass drum pedal. The video became an instant hit on MTV.

Alernate take

Of the unused takes, there are several pretty good 'funny' ones, but none as good as this one. This is one of the earlier 'serious' takes, which also was before the cameraman had sorted out his 'moves.' Pat shows good form in the dog bonding at the end. The clip starts with the end of the previous take, 'cuz it looks cool.
-Karl Koch on an alternate take of the "Undone" music video, from the liner notes for Video Capture Device

Musical composition

The song is notable for its seemingly basic chord progression which repeats through the verse and chorus of I, IV, V, IV. However, the song does experience a key change modulation for the guitar solo after the second chorus, modulating from the key of F# Major to A Major, and thus following the same I, IV, V, IV progression. Also, the main guitar lead played over the chords of the intro and the outro contains a raised second pitch which resolves to the third.

Reception

"Undone" is one of Weezer's most popular songs. The track reached 57 on the US Billboard Hot 100 List of 1994. Allmusic.com gave "Undone" a 5 star rating and also named it an "AMG Track Pick."

Audio

Demos

Live

Track listing

Undone-GFSTD 85.jpg
  • Origin: United Kingdom
  • Catalog no: GFSTD 85
  • Release date: 1994
  • Tracklist:
  1. "Undone - The Sweater Song"
  2. "Mykel & Carli"
  3. "Susanne"
  4. "Holiday"
  • Notes:
    • Maxi-CD
  • Label: Geffen Records
Undone-GFSTD 85.jpg
  • Origin: Germany
  • Catalog no: GED 21965
  • Release date: 1994
  • Tracklist:
  1. "Undone - The Sweater Song"
  2. "Mykel & Carli"
  3. "Susanne"
  4. "Holiday"
  • Notes:
    • Maxi-CD
  • Label: Geffen Records
Undone-DGCS7-19378.jpg
  • Origin: United States
  • Catalog no: DGCS7-19378
  • Release date: 1994
  • Tracklist:
    • A. "Undone - The Sweater Song"
    • B. "Holiday"
  • Notes:
    • Vinyl, 7"-single, 45 RPM
  • Label: DGC
Undone-GFS 85 sleeve.jpg
Undone-GFS 85 vinyl.jpg
  • Origin: United Kingdom
  • Catalog no: GFS 85
  • Release date: 1994
  • Tracklist:
  • Notes:
    • Vinyl, 7"-single, 33 ⅓ RPM
    • Blue vinyl
  • Label: Geffen Records
Undone-GES19305.jpg
  • Origin: France
  • Catalog no: GES19305
  • Release date: 1994
  • Tracklist:
  • Notes:
    • Vinyl, 7"-single, 45 RPM
    • Blue vinyl
    • Promotional vinyl, hand-numbered on rear of sleeve (1200 copies)
  • Label: Geffen Records
  • Origin: Italy
  • Catalog no: PRO20
  • Release date: 1994
  • Tracklist:
  1. . "Undone - The Sweater Song"
  • Notes:
    • CD
    • Promo only
  • Label: MCA Records
Undone-PRO-CD-4662.jpg
  • Origin: United States
  • Catalog no: PRO-CD-4662
  • Release date: 1994
  • Tracklist:
  1. . "Undone - The Sweater Song" (4:10)
  • Notes:
    • CD
    • Promo only
  • Label: Geffen Records
Undone-GFSC 85.jpg
  • Origin: United Kingdom
  • Catalog no: GFSC 85
  • Release date: 1994
  • Tracklist:
  • Notes:
    • Cassette single
  • Label: Geffen Records
Undone-DGCCS-19378.jpg
  • Origin: United States
  • Catalog no: DGCCS-19378
  • Release date: 1994
  • Tracklist:
    • A. "Undone - The Sweater Song" (4:55)
    • B. "Holiday" (3:26)
  • Notes:
    • Cassette single, card sleeve
  • Label: DGC
TheSweaterSong.jpg
  • Origin: Australia
  • Catalog no: GEFDM-21948
  • Release date: 1994
  • Tracklist:
  1. "Undone - The Sweater Song" (4:55)
  2. "Mykel & Carli" (2:33)
  3. "Susanne" (2:46)
  4. "My Evaline" (0:46)
  • Notes:
    • CD
  • Label: Geffen Records
  • "My Evaline" erroneously listed as "Sweet Adeline"
Undone-GEFDM-21948-cass.jpg
  • Origin: Australia
  • Catalog no: GEFDM-21948
  • Release date: 1994
  • Tracklist:
  1. "Undone - The Sweater Song" (4:55)
  2. "Mykel & Carli" (2:33)
  • Notes:
    • Cassette
  • Label: Geffen Records
Undone-GFSTD 85.jpg
  • Origin: France
  • Catalog no: GED 22062
  • Release date: 1995
  • Tracklist:
  1. "Undone - The Sweater Song" (4:55)
  2. "My Name Is Jonas" (3:23)
  • Notes:
    • CD
  • Label: Geffen Records

Personnel

Lyrics

Lyric sheet for "Undone - The Sweater Song"
Early lyrics for "Undone" from 1991

Matt: Hey, brah! How we doin', man?
Karl: Alright
Matt: It's been awhile, man. Life's so rad! This band's my favorite, man. Don'tcha love 'em?
Karl: Yeah
Matt: Aw, man, do you want beer?
Karl: Alright
Matt: Aw, man. Wow, brah, this is the best, man. I'm so glad we're all back together and stuff. This is great, man
Karl: Yeah
Matt: Hey, do you know about the party after the show?
Karl: Yeah
Matt: Aw, man, it's gonna be the best. I'm so stoked! Take it easy, brah!

I'm me, me be
Goddamn, I am
I can, sing and
Here me, know me.

If you want to destroy my sweater
Hold this thread as I walk away.

Mykel: Hey, what's up?
Karl: Not much
Mykel: Um... did you hear about the party?
Karl: Yeah
Mykel: I think I'm going to go, but, um... my friends don't really wanna go. Could I get a ride?

Oh no
It go
It gone
Bye-bye (bye)
Who I
I think
I sink
And I die

If you want to destroy my sweater
Whoa-oh-oh
Hold this thread as I walk away
As I walk away
Watch me unravel, I'll soon be naked.
Lying on the floor, lying on the floor
I've come undone

I don't want to destroy your tank-top
Let's be friends and just walk away
Hate to see you lyin' there in your Superman skivvies
Lying on the floor, lying on the floor
I've come undone

Woo-ooo-woo

See also

External links