newfangled contraption

Undone - The Sweater Song

"Undone - The Sweater Song" is a song by the American 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:

"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.|cquote


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 AllanThis 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 The Offspring covered it in 1994 and 1995 NewFangled Contraption covered it at every show in 2002 and 2003. The Bloodhound Gang covered it with a mix of Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuttin To F Wit.

On the 2008 Troublemaker Tour, Tom DeLonge has been dueting with Cuomo on "Undone"

Music video

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. 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.

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

In the video, lead singer Rivers Cuomo appears wearing a jersey of the Veracruz club, a professional soccer team in Mexico. This fact is well known amongst Mexican fans. At Weezer's first performance in Mexico city many fans wore jerseys of this soccer club.

Musical composition

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 or Louie Louie performed by The Kingsmen. 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.

"My Evaline" B-Side

In 1993, the band started going to a vocal coach. Rivers Cuomo had experience from high school with singing in barbershop quartets, and soon the band was doing barbershop "homework"; vocally, the band needed work to pull off the kind of harmonies that Rivers was writing. "My Evaline" was one of the many old timey songs practiced at the time. Later, while the band was recording "Mykel and Carli" and "Susanne", they had some extra time and decided to take a shot at barbershop. Pat supplied the fourth voice, as he would frequently join the barbershop practices. The band felt it came out rather well, and all agreed it would be cool to put it out. Mysteriously, it only appeared on the Australian edition of the "Undone (The Sweater Song)" single, which erroneously listed it as "Sweet Adeline".

Chart positions

Year Chart Position
1994 Modern Rock Tracks (US) No. 6
1994 Mainstream Rock Tracks (US) No. 30
1994 UK Singles Chart (UK) No. 35
1994 Billboard Hot 100 (US) No. 57


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
  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
  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



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