Undone – The Sweater Song

"Undone – The Sweater Song" is a song by the American alternative rock band Weezer, released on the band's 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 – The Sweater Song"
Weezer undone the sweater song.png
Single by Weezer
from the album Weezer (The Blue Album)
  • "Mykel & Carli"
  • "Susanne"
  • "My Evaline"
ReleasedJune 24, 1994
StudioElectric Lady (New York City, US)
Songwriter(s)Rivers Cuomo
Producer(s)Ric Ocasek
Weezer singles chronology
"Undone – The Sweater Song"
"Buddy Holly"
Music video
"Undone – The Sweater Song" on YouTube

"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.[3]

Cuomo has also said that it was his attempt at writing "a Velvet Underground-type song,"[4] 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.[5]

It was the Spike Jonze-directed video for "Buddy Holly" that brought Weezer to the attention of the general public, but it was "Undone – The Sweater Song" that first laid the groundwork at college and alternative radio.[6]


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.[7] The Offspring covered it in 1994 and 1995.[8] 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 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. Mac DeMarco performed a version of the song in April 2013 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.[9] 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.[10] The song was also covered by dream pop band Beach House live in 2015.[11]

On the 2008 Troublemaker Tour, Tom DeLonge – lead singer of the tour's opening act Angels & Airwaves – sang it as a duet with Cuomo.[12]

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

In 2014 Mac DeMarco performed a cover of the song for Onion's A.V. Undercover.[13]


"Undone – The Sweater Song" is a mid-tempo alternative rock song that runs for a duration of four minutes and fifty-eight seconds.[6][14] Its musical arrangement utilizes dynamics and thick distortion during the chorus in order to drive home the song's melody.[6] According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Hal Leonard Music, it is written in the time signature of common time, with a moderately slow rock tempo of 80 beats per minute.[14] "Undone – The Sweater Song" is composed in the key of Gb major. It has a basic sequence of Gb6–Cb7–Db7–Cb7 during the intro and interludes, changes to Gb–Cb–Db–Cb in the verses and follows Gb5–Cb5–Db5–Cb5 at the chorus as its chord progression.[15]

The song opens at a shaky pace with a circular riff built from picked guitar strings. It comes along with spoken dialogue which satirizes the California party scene. The dialogue features adolescent characters engaged in frivolous conversation and speaking with stereotypical surfer as the band's music gradually rises in the background.[6] During the verses, Cuomo sings free-associative lyrics that portray the image of a dazed social outcast out of place at a party. The musical arrangement has a chorus that is both powerful and serene.[6] It acts as a manifesto and contains wry lines: "If you want to destroy my sweater/Hold this thread as I walk away."[6] They are delivered by way of vocal harmonies which hover above incensed, distorted guitar.[6]

Critical receptionEdit

Tom Maginis for Allmusic wrote, "The song is not only meticulously crafted, it's smart, quirky, poignant, and insanely catchy -- all characteristics that would go on to define Weezer as a band and their debut as one of the most successful alternative rock records of the '90s."[6]

Music videoEdit

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."[16] 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 number 15 and take number 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.[17]

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.

For their official video for their cover of "Africa", Weezer used a parody of the "Undone" video with stand-ins for themselves, including "Weird Al" Yankovic as Cuomo's stand-in.[18]

Track listingsEdit

Promo CD

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

US cassette and promo 7-inch jukebox single

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

Australian CD single

  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 CD, cassette, and 7-inch 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 CD and 7-inch single (blue vinyl)

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



Chart (1994) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[19][20] 63
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[21] 71
Scotland (OCC)[22] 31
UK Singles (OCC)[23] 35
US Billboard Hot 100[24] 57
US Alternative Airplay (Billboard)[25] 6
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[26] 30


  1. ^ "100 Best Alternative Rock Songs of 1994". Spin. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  2. ^ Beaumont, Mark (August 24, 2017). "Weezer's 10 best songs". NME. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  3. ^ Luerssen 2004, p. 111
  4. ^ "Undone - The Sweater Song by Weezer Songfacts". Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  5. ^ "Rivers Cuomo: We Ripped Off "The Sweater Song" From Metallica". August 27, 2009. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Maginnis, Tom. "Weezer – Undone Review by Tom Maginnis". AllMusic. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
  7. ^ "Fray undone". YouTube. January 27, 2007. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  8. ^ "undone cover offspring". YouTube. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  9. ^ "Mac DeMarco covers Weezer". Retrieved April 24, 2013.
  10. ^ http://tinylightsrecordings.com/2013/05/23/new-music-the-tiny-lights-birthday-band-single-number-2/. Retrieved October 2, 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Brodsky, Rachel (November 6, 2015). "Watch Beach House Cover Weezer's 'Sweater Song'". Spin. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  12. ^ King, Brian (September 24, 2008). "Weezer Kick Off North American Tour | SPIN | Live | We Were There". SPIN. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  13. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPw_pJ74oz4
  14. ^ a b Cuomo, Rivers. "Weezer 'Undone - The Sweater Song' Sheet Music in G Major - Download & Print". Musicnotes.com. Hal Leonard Music Publishing. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  15. ^ Cuomo, Rivers. "Weezer 'Undone - The Sweater Song' Guitar Tab in G Major - Download & Print". Musicnotes.com. Hal Leonard Music Publishing. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  16. ^ Luerssen 2004, p. 120
  17. ^ Luerssen 2004, p. 121
  18. ^ Kreps, Daniel (September 24, 2018). "Weezer Recruit 'Weird Al' Yankovic for Video of Toto Cover 'Africa'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  19. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 06 Nov 1994". Australian Record Industry Association Ltd. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  20. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  21. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 12 no. 7. February 18, 1995. p. 19. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  22. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  23. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  24. ^ "Weezer Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  25. ^ "Weezer Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  26. ^ "Weezer Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2019.


External linksEdit