Somebody That I Used To Know-Gotye (feat. Kimbra)

“This song (and its consecutive video) will become your everything.”

That sentence was the first thing I saw about this song on another message board one day last Februaray. I had never heard of Gotye, but this song immediately caught my attention. The chorus is one of those rare examples of an Earworm that is so strong, it lasts for hours if not days later in your head.

“But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
No you didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know

Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know”

Through listening to this song and watching the striking video & it became something I almost had no choice but to keep going back to. And subsequently pass along to as many places online as I could. This song was just too good not to share. there’s a cover of it here that seems to be all the rage on Youtube, Facebook and many other sites right now.

Lyrically, this song drew myself and many others in, with what could be interpreted as a classic story of the lonely man thinking about how things ended with his ex-girlfriend. He’s still contemplating with the fact he screwed up and will never get her back, even just as a friend. The two-perspective idea is used with the female vocal explaining, as much as she may still miss him, he screwed up, likely due to infidelity, and that is why she is now just someone he only used to know (but doesn’t know anymore, by her cutting off contact with him).

The story seems to channel the drama that I’m sure has ensued, with countless examples, between two people in a relationship, in many cases online (changing a facebook status and un-friending someone perhaps?), or in direct, personal situations. It does have that sad, regrettable tone to it. Which I often said “I always find the saddest music which  is also the most beautiful,” and I think this song being as sad as it is, is that way.

“Somebody That I Used to Know,” while it has introduced the globe seemingly, to Gotye, is as significant for exposing how talented a musician he is, as it is introducing the globe to Kimbra as well. Although Gotye’s music has been and may still be in the future, pigeon-holed from this one song. Over some time, at least enough people should come to discover his other music isn’t really like this one song all that much. And that this song, while as impressive, addictive, inspiring, emotional, therapeutic as it is to many, is not exactly representative of the sound on Making Mirrors, nor Gotye’s past work, namely the somewhat successful Like Drawing Blood from 2006.

Regardless, it (and the video for it) will be thought-of as one of the most popular songs from 2011. Whether it remains Gotye’s one and only hit the rest of his career is unclear, but it is definitely a case of a rather talented artist, regardless of how arty or pretentious they may come across, creating something that appealed to the masses. Plenty of other examples have justifiably done this, and failed to reach that wide an audience. But I suppose it does hold hope for others, even when the statistics don’t seem to suggest it’s very likely to happen.