Undone – The Sweater Song

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"Undone – The Sweater Song"
Single by Weezer
from the album Weezer
B-side "Mykel & Carli"
"Susanne"
"My Evaline"
Released June 24, 1994
Format CD, Cassette, 7"
Recorded Electric Lady Studios
New York City, USA
Genre Alternative rock, power pop
Length 4:58
Label DGC
Writer(s) Rivers Cuomo
Producer(s) Ric Ocasek
Weezer singles chronology
"Undone – The Sweater Song"
(1994)
"Buddy Holly"
(1995)
Music video
"Undone – The Sweater Song" on YouTube

"Undone – The Sweater Song" is a song by the American alternative rock band Weezer, released on their self-titled 1994 debut album. It was released as their debut single in 1994. Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo has commented on the song, saying:

Cuomo has also said that it was his attempt at writing "a Velvet Underground-type song,"[2] but later referred to the song as an inadvertent rip-off of Metallica's "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)", with the band's metal roots showing through.[3]

Overview[edit]

Originally, the band intended to insert various sound clips into the song, but were wary of the cost of licensing them. Instead, the studio version of the song features a spoken introduction by then bassist Matt Sharp and longtime friend of the band Karl Koch, as well as an "intermission" set of dialogue between Karl and one of the founding members of Weezer's official fan club and early supporter of the band, Mykel Allan. This dialogue is frequently ad-libbed during concerts and other live recordings.

During live performances in 2005, the band would often invite a fan up to play the acoustic guitar part of "Undone" with the band. On the last night of the Foozer tour, Dave Grohl came up and played it with the band.

The Fray, who toured with Weezer in 2005, played a cover version of this song live during 2007 touring.[4] The Offspring covered it in 1994 and 1995.[5] NewFangled Contraption covered it at every show in 2002 and 2003. The Bloodhound Gang covered it with a mix of Wu-Tang Clan's "Ain't Nuttin To F Wit". Punk/Indie rock band Titus Andronicus have covered the song multiple times on various tours; the band included one of these live covers on their mixtape, Titus Andronicus LLC Mixtape Vol 1. Canadian musician Mac DeMarco performed a version of the song in April 2013 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.[6] In May 2013, UK Based Label Tiny Lights Recordings released a cover of the song recorded by a number of its artists to commemorate its second birthday.[7]

On the 2008 Troublemaker Tour, Tom DeLonge - lead singer of the tour's opening act Angels & Airwaves - sang it as a duet with Cuomo.[8]

On their tour in 2011, the song was performed with the members of The Flaming Lips.

Music video[edit]

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. 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."[9] The $60,000 video was shot on a steadicam in one unbroken shot, 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 shot was taken over twenty five times and the final version is somewhere between take #15 and take #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 shot 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.[10]

An alternate take of the video can be found on the band's Video Capture Device DVD.

In the video, lead singer Rivers Cuomo is wearing a Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz jersey. At Weezer's first performance in Mexico City many fans wore the same jersey.

A link to the music video can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHQqqM5sr7g.

Musical composition[edit]

The song is notable for its seemingly basic chord progression which repeats through the verse and chorus of I, IV, V, IV. Many fans relate the progression to other popular rock songs such as "Wild Thing" performed by The Troggs. 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. This accidental within the key gives the song an off-note and perceivably quirky feel to it.

Track listing[edit]

Promo Only Radio Single

  1. "Undone – The Sweater Song" (Radio Edit) – 3:58

US Retail Cassette/US Promo 7" Jukebox Single (Black Vinyl)

  1. "Undone – The Sweater Song" – 4:58
  2. "Holiday" – 3:26

Australian Retail CD

  1. "Undone – The Sweater Song" – 4:58
  2. "Mykel & Carli" – 2:53
  3. "Susanne" – 2:46 (Original Mix)
  4. "My Evaline" – 0:44 (Erroneously listed as "Sweet Adeline")

UK Retail CD/UK Retail Cassette/UK 7" Single (Blue Vinyl)

  1. "Undone – The Sweater Song" – 4:58
  2. "Mykel & Carli" – 2:53
  3. "Susanne" – 2:46 (Original Mix)
  4. "Holiday" – 3:26

French Retail CD/French Promo 7" Single (Blue Vinyl)

  1. "Undone – The Sweater Song" – 4:58
  2. "My Name Is Jonas" – 3:24

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1994) Peak
Position
Canadian Singles Chart 6
UK Singles Chart 35
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 57
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 30
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 6

Personnel[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Luerssen D., John. Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story. ECW Press, 2004, ISBN 1-55022-619-3 p. 111
  2. ^ Undone-The Sweater Song Songfacts
  3. ^ Rivers Cuomo: We Ripped Off “The Sweater Song” From Metallica (Rolling Stone)
  4. ^ "Fray undone". YouTube. 2007-01-27. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  5. ^ "undone cover offspring". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  6. ^ "Mac DeMarco covers Weezer". Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  7. ^ http://tinylightsrecordings.com/2013/05/23/new-music-the-tiny-lights-birthday-band-single-number-2/
  8. ^ King, Brian (2008-09-24). "Weezer Kick Off North American Tour | SPIN | Live | We Were There". SPIN. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  9. ^ Luerssen D., John, 2004 p. 120
  10. ^ Luerssen D., John, 2004 p. 121

External links[edit]