Sudden fame always comes as a shock. Probably doubly so for poets who find themselves with an unlikely radio hit.
Meryn Cadell got her start in the mid to late 80s on the small stages of Toronto, performing her own unique blend of songs and spoken word. Without a band — and sometimes using a piece of heating duct over her head for some DIY reverb effect — Cadell was likely destined for the Bohemian fringes, but she wrote catchy pieces and developed a compelling style of vocal delivery. Even so, no one — least of all Cadell — was prepared for the success of “The Sweater.”
Using a sample from an old, funky, easy listening tune for the backing, Cadell recites a wonderful tale of camping, unrequited teenage love, and winter wear. The song unexpectedly hit the Top 40 in Canada in 1991, and gained frequent airplay at college and alternative stations when released in the US the following year, especially in New York. Her album, Angel Food For Thought, was by turns witty, clever, jazzy, and dark, and put to good use everything she had learned after years of performing.
So cozy up with one last wintry tune. And put on “The Sweater.” It will warm you in all the right places.
Haven’t heard this one before! It has a strange charm to it. Had to look up the funky sampled song. It’s kinda hypnotic! Apparently Eazy-E sampled it too.
In the last 25 years, I’ve actually never met anybody who knows this song, and I’ve never heard it played anywhere but my stereo. My first year of college was spent in upstate NY and the “alternative” radio station was more likely to throw in Canadian artists than in other areas of the US. It’s also where I first heard the debut by Barenaked Ladies (still one of my all-time favorite albums). Also, I had no idea Eazy-E used this sample too!
Right on. I will never forget the look on my late great-uncle’s face when my parents and I told him that saw the Barenaked Ladies. He thought they were bare naked ladies.