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
Producer(s) Ric Ocasek
Status Officially released
Live debut March 19, 1992 in Los Angeles, CA
Professional reviews
Weezer singles chronology
"Undone - The Sweater Song"
"Buddy Holly"
Weezer (The Blue Album) track listing
"Buddy Holly"
"Undone - The Sweater Song"
"Surf Wax America"
The Kitchen Tape track listing
"Let's Sew Our Pants Together"
"Undone - The Sweater Song"
Weezer's third demo track listing
"Say It Ain't So"
"Undone - The Sweater Song"
"Surf Wax America"
Rivers Cuomo song chronology
"Make Me a Pallet"
(RC# 113)
"Undone - The Sweater Song"
(RC# 114)
"Why Do We Hurt Eachother?"
(RC# 115)
Alternate cover
Cover of the European Retail CD
Cover of the European Retail CD

"Undone - The Sweater Song" is the fifth track and lead single from Weezer's eponymous debut record (The Blue Album).



"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.

Rivers Cuomo, press kit for Weezer (The Blue Album)

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]

In 2009, Cuomo admitted to Rolling Stone that "Undone (The Sweater Song)" was an "almost complete rip-off" of "Welcome Home (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."[2]

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.[3]

When the song was chosen as the lead single for The Blue Album, the band's record label requested a shortened version of the song to be played on the radio. While Weezer had agreed to a shortening of both the song's opening and closing sections, there was an additional adjustment made which shortened the song's final guitar solo by several seconds. Weezer had approved of this version of the song without hearing the edits made to the solo, and upon hearing this version of the song, they requested the solo edit be removed. The original radio edit had a run-time of 3:58, which was extended to 4:10 in the 'corrected' full guitar solo edit.[3]

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[4].

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, Video Capture Device booklet, 2004

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.

Alternate 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, Video Capture Device booklet, 2004

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.


"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."



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 a 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

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 (If you want to destroy my sweater)
Let's be friends and just walk away (Hold this thread as I walk away)
Good to see you lyin' there in your Superman skivvies (Watch me unravel, I'll soon be naked)
Lying on the floor, lying on the floor
I've come undone

Woo-ooo-woo (repeat x24)

Known recordings

Performer(s) Title Filename Date of recording Recording location Length Appeared on Notes
Rivers Cuomo Undone - The Sweater Song 06 Undone.mp3 December 1991[5] 2:30 Alone IV: The Blue-Pinkerton Years
Weezer Undone - The Sweater Song February 16, 1992[6] T.K. Productions & Rehearsal Studios, Los Angeles, CA Rehearsal
Weezer Undone - The Sweater Song August 1992[6] 5:38
Weezer Undone - The Sweater Song November 1992[7] 5:34 Weezer's third demo Features an interpolation of "Ode to Joy"
Weezer Undone - The Sweater Song August 11, 1993[7] S.I.R., New York City, NY Blue Album pre-production demo. Engineered by Chris Shaw.
Weezer Undone - The Sweater Song August—September 1993 Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY 5:05 Weezer (The Blue Album)
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See also

External links


  1. "Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Weezer Songs." Rolling Stone. 18 June 2014. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/readers-poll-the-10-best-weezer-songs-23051/4-undone-the-sweater-song-253809/
  2. Greene, Andy. "Rivers Cuomo: We Ripped Off “The Sweater Song” From Metallica," Rolling Stone. 27 August 2009. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/rivers-cuomo-we-ripped-off-the-sweater-song-from-metallica-248837/
  3. 3.0 3.1 Koch, Karl. "Karl Answers More Than You Even Thought to Ask", Weezine Issue 3 - Summer 1995.
  4. We'z Talkin' Weez' 2 Thee. "Conversation with Jason Cropper (founding member of Weezer) on Instagram Live," March 29, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aM3oFKEcOkw
  5. Weezer Recording History - Page 2
  6. 6.0 6.1 Weezer Recording History - Page 3
  7. 7.0 7.1 Weezer Recording History - Page 4