After I listened to Walk off the Earth’s innovative cover of this song with a guitar-playing friend of mine, we both decided to check out Belgian-Australian* artist Gotye’s original version. Turns out it’s just as good as Walk off the Earth’s cover, which is a testament to both the original and the cover.
This track is off his 2011 album Making Mirrors, and I think I mostly dig it for the same reasons I like Zero 7’s “In the Waiting Line”: it’s got a solid acoustic guitar background coupled with some electronic flourishes that meld together the organic and the synthetic pretty successfully. Gotye’s voice is raw and emotive enough to inject a real current of longing into the lyrics, which contrasts very nicely with New Zealand singer Kimbra’s detached vocal delivery. The most hear-wrenching line? “No you didn’t have to stoop so low/have your friends pick up your records and then change your number.” Images of John Cusack in High Fidelity can’t help but leap to mind.
“Somebody That I Used To Know” succeeds with a great mix of varied instrumentation (acoustic guitar, xylophone, synths, etc.) and an expansive production that makes the track sound like it was recorded in some weird aquarium. My buddy and I decided there’s kind of a Peter Gabriel vibe at work, which Wikipedia seems to agree with, though I like this a lot better than Peter Gabriel.
This is gonna be a hot song this summer—look for it.
*On a side note, can anyone name me another Belgian-Australian musician? Preferably a famous one? This guy’s got quite niche carved out.