Say It Ain't So

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"Say It Ain't So"
Say It Ain't So cover
Single by Weezer
Album Weezer (The Blue Album)
Released May 10, 1994
July 13, 1995 - as a single
Recorded August-September 1993 at Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY
Length 4:18
Label DGC
Writer(s) Rivers Cuomo
RC# 143
Producer Ric Ocasek
Status Officially released
Professional reviews
Rivers Cuomo song chronology
"Why Are We?"
(RC# 142)
"Say It Ain't So"
(RC# 143)
"Please Pick Up the Phone"
(RC# 144)
Weezer singles chronology
"Buddy Holly"
"Say It Ain't So"
"El Scorcho"
Weezer (The Blue Album) track listing
"Surf Wax America"
"Say It Ain't So"
"In the Garage"
The Kitchen Tape track listing
"Say It Ain't So"
"Only in Dreams"
Weezer's third demo track listing
"The World Has Turned and Left Me Here"
"Say It Ain't So"
"Undone - The Sweater Song"

"Say It Ain't So" is the third single and seventh track from The Blue Album.



"Say It Ain't So" was also released on July 13, 1995 as a radio single, making it the final single released from The Blue Album. Originally, Weezer lead singer Rivers Cuomo had written all of the music and had only the line "Say it ain't so". He made the connection between the line and an experience he had in high school where he came home to find a bottle of alcohol (belonging to his stepfather, Stephen Kitts) in the refrigerator. Cuomo recalled that around the time his biological father left, he started drinking. He began to fear that Stephen, his step father, would soon leave his mother much the way his father did. This intense emotional content has caused many fans and critics to classify the song as "emo."

In the song, Cuomo draws parallels between his own drinking and his family falling apart, which is evident in the climax of the bridge section in which Cuomo states, "Like father, step father, the son is drowning in the flood."

As noted in the Weezer DVD collection Video Capture Device and the slip cover of the re-released special edition of their debut album, the video was filmed at the old "Amherst House" where the band used to rehearse and record. The video also features a cameo by the band's webmaster/band photographer/archivist and close friend for many years, Karl Koch. It reached #23 on The New Zealand show U Choose 40 Sing-A-Long Classics.

In 2008, the song was ranked #72 on Rolling Stone's "The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time."

The song was featured as a playable song in the 2007 music video game Rock Band.


Musically, "Say It Ain't So" features a reggae-ish beat under the verse vocals, which are doubled by bassist Matt Sharp in falsetto. When the chorus kicks in, a big, start-stop guitar riff mimicks the beat, and for the second and third choruses, a brief unison bend guitar part fills the spaces between the main riff. The guitar solo features a layered sound, much in the style of Queen guitarist Brian May, whom Rivers had expressed an affinity for.

For the studio version, Cuomo double tracked Chorus vocals and left the verse vocals with one take. It is one of the songs on the debut album to not feature Brian Bell on vocals. Originally, the words "Heartbreaker, lifetaker" were echoed at the end.

The chord progression for the verses and chorus of the song is the following: vi, V/vi, IV, I.


The artwork for the "Say It Ain't So" single comes from a childhood drawing Rivers made of him and his father playing soccer--something they mutually loved. Prominently featured in the artwork is the image of Rivers scoring a goal (spelled "goll"), and his father encouraging him on with lines like, "Yay, my son." This information about the cover was not known until 2007, when Rivers revealed these facts in the beginning of the video for the Alone track "Lover in the Snow".

The release on 10" vinyl was a limited edition, with only 5000 numbered copies released.

All versions of the "Say It Ain't So" single feature the remixed version of the song (see below), and various editions contain one or both songs "No One Else" and "Jamie", recorded acoustically on April 1, 1995 at at Cat's Paw studios for Atlanta radio station WNNX, aka 99X. Bootlegs of all five songs recorded that day (including "Buddy Holly", "In the Garage", and "Undone") can be found online.

Song mixes

There are two mixes of the song. The original mix, featured on initital pressings of The Blue Album, can be distinguished in that the feedback in the chorus of the song has been edited out. However, when released as a single, the recording was remixed, with all instruments being placed slightly different in the mix and the guitar feedback between chords being intact.

The band liked this mix so much that they asked for it to replace the version on the album, after the album had sold about a million copies. The single version is now the version on the album. As the album has sold over two million copies since the switch, the ratio of remixed versions to original mixes is about 2:1. The original mix is featured as a bonus track on disc two of the deluxe edition of The Blue album.


"Say It Ain't So" is one of the most beloved Weezer songs. Many Weezer fans, and even Weezer band members, have cited it as their favorite Weezer song. Band member Brian Bell has expressed before that it is his favorite Weezer song. In 2008, the song was ranked #72 on Rolling Stone's "The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time." It is also one of the band's more visible songs among casual music fans and the general public. gave "Say It Ain't So" a 5 star rating and named it an "AMG Track Pick."


Radio Only Promo CD
  1. Say It Ain't So (remix) - 4:17
UK Retail Cassette
  1. Say It Ain't So (remix) - 4:17
  2. No One Else (live acoustic) - 3:15
UK Retail CD/UK Retail 10" Single (Black Vinyl)
  1. Say It Ain't So (remix) - 4:17
  2. No One Else (live acoustic) - 3:15
  3. Jamie (live acoustic) - 3:53

Music video

The band wanted something a bit more grounded and serious after the pop culture explosion of "Buddy Holly," and Sophie responded with the touch needed to capture the band in their original rehearsal "garage" in West L.A. Unfortunately, they couldn't play hackey-sack to save their lives that day!
-Karl Koch on the "Say It Ain't So" music video, from the liner notes for Video Capture Device

The music video was directed by Sophie Miller. Scott Shriner expressed on the Video Capture Device commentary that the video caught his eye because it was different from what was around at the time. The video shows the band in the wake of their success playing in their old garage at their old house. The video also features band friend, historian and unofficial fifth member Karl Koch. During the guitar solo, the band is shown playing hacky sack in their backyard.

Live performance on Letterman

The top requested fan favorite television performance. No TV performance ever goes perfectly, but there's a real vibe here, with Rivers painfully balancing in his leg brace, and the band riding the emotional rails of unexpected success.
-Karl Koch on a 1995 performance of "Say It Ain't So" on Late Night With David Letterman, from the liner notes for Video Capture Device



Album versions



Say it aint so.jpg

Oh yeah
All right

Somebody's Heine' is crowdin' my icebox
Somebody's cold one is givin' me chills
Guess I'll just close my eyes

Oh yeah
Feels good

Flip on the tele'
Wrestle with Jimmy
Something is bubbling
Behind my back
The bottle is ready to blow

Say it ain't so
Your drug is a heart breaker
Say it ain't so
My love is a life taker

I can't confront you
I never could do
That which might hurt you
So try and be cool
When I say
This way is a water slide away from me that takes you further every day (hey)
So be cool

Say it ain't so
Your drug is a heart breaker
Say it ain't so
My love is a life taker

Dear Daddy,
I write you in spite of years of silence
You've cleaned up, found Jesus
Things are good or so I hear
This bottle of Steven's
Awakens ancient feelings
Like father, stepfather, the son is drowning in the flood

Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah

Say it ain't so
Your drug is a heart breaker
Say it ain't so
My love is a life taker

See also