Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye

20 Sep

Gotye Catch 'Em All: Gotye's in the eye of the hurricane. Or something metaphorical.

By now, you should know I like to tell you the real names of artists I write about. I feel it adds to the appreciation of the music because it gives you a sense of the artist as a human… Yeah, I can’t finish that off. The truth is, sometimes their names are funny (here’s looking at you Dido and Lykke Li). Today we have Gotye or Wouter “Wally” De Backer. I actually think De Backer is a pretty cool name but it’s harder to make Pokemon tagline-based jokes so we’ll stick with Gotye. A quick summary of Mr De Backer’s life: He’s a ‘Belgian-Australian multi-instrumental musician and singer-songwriter,’ who’s released three studio solo albums and another three in his ‘indie-pop’ band, The Basics. Listen up, Wikipedia. I love you and your sections about books I haven’t read but have pretended to but the description ‘indie-pop’ is so oxymoronic it could fit into a Shakespeare play. Or at the very least, a modern, hip version of Romeo and Juliet. Someone should get on tha- wait, what do you mean? One Baz Luhrmann has already conceived my idea? Oh well, there’s always that fall back plan of a 3-D version of The Great Gatsby I was concocting.

But back to Gotye. I’m surprised Jonah hasn’t blogged about him as he seems to fit a certain electronic musician type. There are echoes of Miike Snow, Bon Iver, The xx, and Arcade Fire but really he’s created a unique sound. At times it’s moody and atmospheric, at others it’s beautifully upbeat. Here’s Bronte, one of my favourite tracks from his latest album, Making Mirrors which hit number 1 in the Australian charts (and here I was thinking all they listened to was The Veronicas and Rolf Harris) :

The break-out single from Making Mirrors is Somebody That I Used To Know, a pretty beautiful break-up song. Here’s the thing, the subject matter of the song is quite cliche. In the hands of another artist we’d probably get a song about how he got over said-ex by hooking up in a club by the speakers after 4 mojitos. There’s nothing wrong with that (really, most of my Saturdays Thursdays are comprised of mojitos and clubbing) but Gotye’s version is a very different take. Exhibit A:

I know you don’t think you did me wrong
And I can’t stay this mad for long
Keeping a hold of what you just let go
You’re just somebody that I used to know

Mixing the sentimental with the ice cold. Pretty remarkable eh? Also remarkable: how fresh this song feels given its’ worked and reworked theme. In fact, most of Gotye’s music has a refreshing aspect much like recently blogged about Washed Out‘s. Maybe after the heady, sweaty days of summer, we need some heartbreak to bring us down to earth and clean us out. Listen, please and fall in love. Another thing to love, the inclusion of New Zealand singer/songwriter Kimbra Jones in the song. It’s always good to remind there are two people in a relationship, in this case that the woman was probably not quite as awful as the man paints her. One-sided misogyny: bad. Gender equality within pop music: good. Here’s the video:


2 Responses to “Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye”


  1. What We’re Listening To: Week 1 « Can You Hear This - September 23, 2011

    […] loving artists like Washed Out and Gotye at the moment and Beach House might just be my pick of the pack.  From their latest album 2010 Teen […]

  2. After You – Meg Myers « Can You Hear This - February 21, 2012

    […] say that. Also rare: this density of hyperbole in a blog post. The last time it happened was with Somebody That I Used To Know (and there, all I did was predict a trend that had already kickstarted in Gotye’s native […]

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