David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 50: Weezer (Undone--The Sweater Song)

June 15, 2020

This one is simply about the dogs.

The problem for many bands that became popular in the 80's and 90's is that their best-known songs are irrevocably linked to videos. In most cases, that is probably beneficial to the artists, as images maybe more so than sounds, can exist in our memories long after a song's popularity fades.

Weezer is the perfect example for me.  I love all of their hits, even "Beverly Hills," but don't have much capacity for the non-hits. Their popular songs seem so much catchier. I can't help but see the thoroughl recreated Happy Days sets and scenes for "Buddy Holly"; I can't help but see the slow motion goofy party at Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion with every hand clap of "Beverly Hills." A band that didn't take themselves too seriously at the height of music video stood a good chance of being recognized and remembered.

I suppose it has its down side. Rivers Cuomo, singer and songwriter for Weezer, has claimed their single "Undone--The Sweater Song" is a sad song that people find funny.  Granted the basic lyric is bizarre enough as a figure of speech, that it is hard not to smile: "If you want to destroy my sweater/Hold this thread as I walk away."  It takes multiple verses (if you call background chatter "verses") before the rawness of Cuomo's chorus gets revealed, granted as the sweater becomes completely unthreaded:

"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."

It really is a poignant image. Cuomo also claims that he was writing something in the vein of Velvet Underground, and one can start to see that as the song's lumbering music explodes into the chaos that could be his undone mind. It stands every chance to be the sad song he intended.

Yet "Undone--The Sweater Song" is an attempted right turn (or left turn, take your pic) from Weezer's usual pick of wry observations. The accompanying video looks like it might do the sentiment justice.  While quirky, with the band not necessarily trying that hard to always sync with the music, it presents a straightforward performance clip that allows us to focus on the lyric. Then, right as the guitar solo ends, at 2:20 in the video, the hounds are released.

Yes, watch the video for the amazing release of 17 dogs (I think) from stage right into the performance and immediately off screen.  C'mon Cuomo, with all due respect, it's hard to stay focused on your unraveling when there are puppies! Lots of puppies! The dogs seem to set off the band for more goofiness, especially from drummer, Patrick Wilson, who gyrates, mouth open, while playing, then runs around his drum kit, eventually falling to the floor, almost hitting a dog that has come back on stage.

Just like that, all of Cuomo's best intentions come undone, as we watch Wilson lying on the floor.

"Undone--The Sweater Song." Weezer. Weezer. DGC. 1994. Video Link Here.

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Day 51: Prince "Little Red Corvette." ->

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