#163 – Undone – The Sweater Song

blue

Artist – Weezer
Album – Weezer (The Blue Album)
Year – 1994
Genre – Alternative Rock

I had largely forgotten what a great song “Undone” was, but it’s funny how things come back around. A friend of mine recently showed me the original demo for this song, and though I really liked it, I figured I should do a review on the studio version which is just as great. It’s actually quite appropriate, as it is absolutely freezing outside here in Buffalo with many, many feet of snow on the ground and I am indeed wearing a sweater. But that aside…

Rivers Cuomo has a way with words, I will say that. I would actually say that Weezer is one of the earliest bands to write very much in a stream of consciousness way and be successful at it. Though I don’t know if you would call them lyrics, the song opens with a conversation that I think many of us have had at one point. We’re the guy who doesn’t really want to talk, while the other guy is overly enthusiastic. I think it’s very representative of those moments where we have a lot on our minds and we just want to be left alone. In any case, it’s certainly one of the most unique ways to open a song.

The dreary guitar line that pervades the song is sharp and clear, and it sounds so perfect for a song like this. After all, Cuomo himself has said that this is a sad song, and when you take a closer look at it, you can definitely tell. The short two word lyrics in the verses are actually quite sad and emotional, and almost read as a cry for help. He wants people to know he exists and that he has feelings too. Or perhaps he wants one person to know in particular:

I’m me
Me be
Goddamn
I am
I can
Sing and
Hear me
Know me

The first chorus is short, but oh my lord those crunchy guitars. I swear every time the chorus in this song comes in I have to air guitar. The guitars are so big and just dirty that you have to rock out. It’s a great riff for sure, but it’s over fast. Never fear though, they’ll be back in full force soon.

We get another snippet of Mr. I Want To Be Left Alone, but this time he’s with Mrs. Am I Flirting With You Or Not, and it’s much shorter than the first exchange, but just as effective at painting a picture of the scene. But the next verse is even more sad than the first. Seeing as the sweater motif is a metaphor for falling apart after a failed relationship, it makes sense for the song to get more bleak:

Oh no
It go
It gone
Bye-bye
Who I
I think
I sink
And I die

But this next chorus though. It’s just so, so good. The guitar is huge, and so are the vocals from Cuomo and Co. This is the whole chorus, and it’s here where you hear how good the melody here really is. The harmonies sound awesome, but it’s the passion from the whole band that you can really hear. The lyrics are just heartwrenching when you translate them to someone who’s lost everything in love. It’s really all about being so emotionally vulnerable at the hands of someone who destroyed your heart:

If you want to destroy my sweater
Hold this thread as I walk away
Watch me unravel, I’ll soon be naked
Lying on the floor (lying on the floor)
I’ve come undone

After this, we get a totally kickass guitar solo that leads right into two more choruses. The second of which changes things, and really shows the kindness of the narrator in the song, and how much he still cares about the feelings of the other person who hurt him. After this, there’s another great guitar solo and that huge wall of guitars keeps on carrying on. And as the band starts to “ooh” and the drums and guitar pound at double time and shake the room, the song fades into about 50 seconds of feedback and some weird piano noises, perhaps signaling a total breakdown.

“Undone” is a really hard rocking song to be sure, and it stands among Weezer’s finest, but it’s actually quite an emotional song as well. I think most people just see it as a sort of fun, lighthearted song about sweaters, but it’s so much more than that. Definitely a must listen for any rock/alternative fan.

But what do you think? Let me know what you think of the song in the comments!

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