Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Sweater Song

Every so often I hear an old song in a new way. And so it was that today I heard Weezer's "Undone" - aka, "The Sweater Song" - and it got my mind racing.

For those of you who haven't heard the song (ie, you're over 40 or under 2 years of age), here's the video.



Or, if you're at work and reading this blog post on your phone while on the toilet (don't lie, you know you do it), here are the lyrics to the chorus:

If you want to destroy my sweater (Woah-ah-woah-ah-woah)
Hold 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


I used to think that this was a simple song about a person's sweater being slowly undone. I mean, it's Weezer, right? I love the band, but they don't seem overly deep.

But then I thought, "Is the sweater a metaphor for something?"

Like maybe the sweater is warm and comforting, and something that the lead singer would have gotten at Christmas or at a birthday. So unraveling the sweater is like unraveling the happy memories of his life, to leave him "naked" and depressed, ie, "lying on the floor." His mind goes as his "sweater" unravels because he loses touch with all of his old, happy family memories. In this way he's come "undone."

Also, I like to think of the sweater is a Christmas sweater with a bedazzled teddy bear dressed like Santa on it.

So, what event could cause this unraveling? Maybe the song's about a divorce or a breakup, because he basically dares the other person to hold onto the sweater's thread as he walks away. He's choosing to leave and walk away from a comforting, warm, happy existence, but he gives the other person a choice: hold the thread and destroy me, or don't hold the thread and let me keep my visually appealing sweater. Maybe the thread in question is a child which is being fought over in a custody battle, maybe it's all the friends that a couple shares together which would now probably side with just one of them, etc. It's something important and meaningful, although maybe you don't know how important it is until you lose it.

(I've been reading books about how to read literature and novels, if you couldn't tell. I'm looking for imagery everywhere I turn now.)

So that's my metaphysical answer. But then I thought, "Why would he be naked if his sweater is undone? Isn't he wearing a t-shirt, pants and/or underwear?!"

I researched the lyrics, and it just so happens that the last chorus goes like this:

If you want to destroy my sweater. (I don't want to destroy your tank-top.)
Hold this thread as I walk away. (Let's be friends and just walk away.)
Watch me unravel, I'll soon be naked. (Hate to see you lyin' there in your Superman skivvies.)
Lying on the floor, lying on the floor
I've come undone!.....


Undergarments are referenced - tank tops and Superman skivvies. But still, no pants. Kind of weird, although again, this is Weezer, so it's possible that they are just a couple of dudes who like to walk around with just sweaters, tank tops and underoos.

And so... maybe it is just a song about a sweater after all.

Or maybe the Superman skivvies is a metaphor itself! But that's a blog for another day.

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