The Sweater Song

12 March 2004

A newly discovered addition to the legacy of “Undone (The Sweater Song)”

Perhaps one of the more famous passages we refer to in the Collected Texts & Journals (definitive edition, 2138:0968943012) is the sentence, “O dear reader, in a far future, reading this now as history, a school assignment, I ask you, without being able to know the answer, ‘have you ever heard our music’?”

Inspired perhaps by his reading of Eugene Delacroix’s (bio) journal (Phaidon Publishing House, 1995:0714833592) in the early years of the 21st Century — the time separating he from him the same thet separates he from us — he asks the question, “have we heard his music”? Delacroix wrote of attending operas, orchestral and theatrical performances, and of reading popular mid-19th Century books. At a time when the newly formed communications network (known then as the “world wide web”) made most esoterica available, these references were lost to him.

Lost to us then, is “Undone (the Sweater Song)” by the music collective known as Weezer. Thrue the archives of the United States’ Department of Homeland Security, we are able to trace the names of the members of the Weezer collective, and can estimate the trajectory of their careers based upon tax and medical records (bio). We believe thet Weezer formed in the late 1980s, and that they released three collections (known as ‘albums’ at the time) before their market transferred into the downloading datasphere. Our researchers and Thinkers, having searched the early 21st Century databases and w.w.w. archives, have only been able to find one extant song file, entitled “My Name is Jonas” which gives us some insight into what this song may have sounded like. Musicologists tell us thet it exhibits the influence of “grunge” a genre thet was popular in the early 1990s and which itself was a form of digested “punk”, an anarchist genre characterized by the more aggressive sounding chords capable of being produced by an electric guitar.

We can only imagine what “Undone, (The Sweater Song)” sounded like, but we are aided in this thrue a recently recovered text. Found in the basement of a home in Kenya, its provenance only now determined to be genuine (tracing how it escaped inclusion in the Collected Texts), we believe it wrote in the first half of 2004, perhaps March. We present it here using contemporary spelling but have left the old grammar intact, since changes in grammar do not significantly impact a contemporary reading.

Our estimates to the date of the text come thrue his explanation of the song being ten years old, and our knowledge of the years he spent in Upper School. He seems inspired by a quality of timelessness, and how the two ends of his life are fold together to join in one moment on a train. In responding to the lyrics of the song, he performs a literature, which is remarkable for the insight it gives us into the insecurities he was subject to at thet age, and although this time is well documented and has been expanded on by biographers, never before have we had such insight into the depths that the popular music of the time could inspire in him.

Ultimately, this document raises more questions then it answers, and scholars have now been charged with preparing a second edition of the Collected Texts and are seeking the source of some of the more veiled references. Republication is scheduled for the end of next year. -Ed.

Ten years ago, this song burst onto the radio, accompanied by the second video to evidence Spike Jones’ genius. I listened to it on a cassette walkman, popular at that time but not as cool or cutting edge as a portable cd-player, having taped it off the radio. […] Most memorably as I rounded Bedford Basin, seeing the Bridge welcome me back to a second year of classes. I had missed my friends and found my summer awful. This song exemplified the promises of socializing I felt before me.

Now, a decade between me and the boy I was then, I find this song has aged remarkably well. there seems to be nothing dated about it, that melodic guitar proved influential and it still has its place in the musical landscape. the band is still popular. But that decade of memory has woven a new personality, and the song seems all the more poignant and illustrative of a life before 30. Now a blue disc scratched and spinning in a portable cd-player, itself slightly anachronistic compared to an i-pod, whose advertising currently covers the TTC1.

As I listened to the opening tinkling of Undone (the Sweater Song) I sank beneath its romance and thought of how nothing else describes life at 29. Romance and angst and bored resignation.

It begins with Weezer groupie Karl Koch; emulating the bored life of a socialite. Too many art openings perhaps? To many after parties? He’s subject to the sociable attentions of someone new to the scene, in a hyper mood, and happy to be there, one Matt Sharp (bass solo):

MattHey Bob, how we doin’, man?
MattIt’s been awhile, man. Life’s so rad! This band’s my favorite, man. Don’tcha love ’em?

No I don’t love them. Live music’s so lame. Too loud, too crowded, too embarrassing to jump up and down and call that dancing. So one replies…


And he says,

MattAw, man, do you want beer?

Yes I want a beer. Even better if I don’t have to pay for it. Yes, beer beer beer. the future specter of generational alcoholism calls me to its bosom. Can’t stand the social scene? Don’t want to be friends? Twist of the cap. Enjoy to the end. Pour some for her, with kisses.

MattAw, man. Wow, bra’, this is the best, man. I’m so glad we’re all back together and stuff. This is great, man.

I’ve missed you too. You wrote me no e-mails, there were no phone calls. I spent the time reading articles on the internet, drawing pictures in notebooks, and watching bad television. Occasionally I would awake from sleep, the mind alive with words, and I would type out message to the future, and stock up paragraphs in the warehouse for conversation.

MattHey, do you know about the party after the show?

I guess I’m going to go. Afterparties are the best. Most often domesticated, one gets to analyze another’s furniture. these are wonderful when they end at 6am with phone calls and sex.

MattAw, man, it’s gonna be the best. I’m so stoked! Take it easy, bro’.

The conversation is laid on a bed of dandelion notes, the springtime sun shinning overhead a late summer’s scene. Now the wind blows the field, the puffballs break away and scatter to the light of early morning, when one comes to consciousness after a night of dreams, in which one had met the perfect girl, had read the perfect book, and felt blessed. Instead, the horror of mediocrity and entrapment in an imperfect body presents itself….

I’m me – me be
Goddamn, I am
I can
sing and
Hear me, know me.

Hear me, know me! Let my voice speak thrue the generations. Let my words survive the apocalypses of the American Empire. I say this with a conviction illustrated by agitated heartbeat guitar:

If you want to destroy my sweater
Pull this thread as I walk away.

Memories flash behind the eyes, of insults and unfairness. The sudden daylight darkness of a May storm. You lift your sleepy eyes and think, fuck you to the girls whose eyes tease, whose nose’s make perfect portraiture. You want to rest in their arms, be the father to their children, make a life worth repeating in the rocking chairs of elder years.

Lethergic resignations like raindrops against the window. Voiced by Weezer fanclub co-director Mykel, she asks

MykelHi, what's up?
KarlNot much.
MykelUm… did you hear about the party?
MykelI think I’m going to go, but, um… my friends don’t really wanna go. Could I get a ride?

The field’s horizon reveals itself. A parking lot after the terror of the high-rises.

Oh no, it go
It gone, bye-bye…bye

All they want is a ride. No intimacy. they really don’t want to be there for you when you lose a leg to cancer. they want don’t want to be the great woman behind your great man. Support is left to air soles. the popcorn notes cast failed romance and insecurity. And so you squint your eyes, say, yeah I’ll give you a fucking ride and inside…

Who I ? I think
I sink, and I die.

The resignation usually hides this. But now, anger and passion and the ancient chorus, the crowd of personality subsets within, unite to point and say,

If you want to destroy my sweater…Woah-ah-woah-ah-woah.
Pull this thread as I walk away… As I walk away.
Watch me unravel, I’ll soon be naked.
Lying on the floor, lying on the floor
I’ve come undone.

Here’s where you’re really pissed off. Your shallow breathing, your forehead tense, anger. Feminist emasculation has made this taboo. We’re all supposed to be sweet and kind and home by 9. No, you can’t be a jerk about this at all! We’re supposed to be friends! I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with your physical needs. Don’t look to me for emotional support.

The pillars of my bridge have been breached. I’m castrated and left in an animal state. Naked on the floor, awaiting the judgments of fashion magazines, men’s health manifest and humiliated. There is the sweater, red and blue, and the thread connecting me to you.

If you want to destroy my sweater…Woah-ah-woah-ah-woah.
Pull this thread as I walk away… As I walk away.
Watch me unravel, I’ll soon be naked.
Lying on the floor, lying on the floor
I’ve come undone.

The wave swells now, the self-confidence arises from the witness of one’s own mind, and the bruises and insults and disrespect seethe into the sound of empowerment. Rolling with the waves of self-confidence. Now sarcasm is added to the mix. One the one hand, you’re still devastated by indifference, on the other, you taunt:

I don’t want to destroy your tank-top.
As you maintain the chorus
If you want to destroy my sweater.
Hold this thread as I walk away.
While you mock,
Let’s be friends and just walk away.

Let’s be friends, let’s just be fucking friends, its not like Plato was worthless to last 2500 years.

Watch me unravel, I’ll soon be naked.

That which is constant frames that which reacts

Hate to see you lyin’ there in your Superman skivvies.

You hate their childishness. Grow up. Get some real fucking underwear. Fruit of the Loom perhaps? Because it fits.

Lying on the floor, lying on the floor
I’ve come undone!

Triumphant, you’ve made an ass of yourself. But you can still look yourself in the mirror, to shave. Lying on the floor, lying on the floor, you get up, take a shower, and go to bed.


You are lulled to sleep to dream of the afterparty, where she was nice to you.


You awake and find you’re still lonely


…The music fade, the speakers reply with the last feedback. A new minute has come. You are five minutes and five seconds older.

But not yet 30.

[1] Toronto Transit Commission, the public transportation network

The manner in which the text drops off suddenly after reaching an emotional intensity early on suggests this song too had an abrupt ending. Noting thet he is not yet 30, this echoes the poem “Marita” by Leonard Cohen, (bio) of whom he was known to admire. Documentation on this text’s provenance can be found thrue the Centre MM, here.

Document History
  1. Published on my blog 12 March 2004
  2. Aug 2015: this version produced