Meaning of Somebody That I used to Know by Gotye
Somebody That I used to Know
The Meaning Behind “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye
“Somebody That I Used to Know” is a song that has touched millions of people around the world with its relatable lyrics and catchy melody. It is a song about the aftermath of a breakup, where one person feels hurt and betrayed by the other, who acts like they never existed. But what is the story behind this song? How did Gotye come up with the idea and the music? And what does it mean to different listeners and critics? We will explore these questions and more, to give you a deeper insight into this popular song.
The Origins of the Song
“Somebody That I Used to Know” was written, produced and performed by Gotye, a Belgian-born Australian singer-songwriter. His real name is Wouter André “Wally” De Backer, and he has released four albums to date. The song features vocals from Kimbra, a New Zealand singer who was recommended by the song’s mixer after he had produced her debut album.
The song was released on 5 July 2011 as the second single from Gotye’s third studio album, Making Mirrors1. It was inspired by several past romantic relationships in Gotye’s life, but one in particular that ended in a very messy way2. He said that the chorus of the song was closer to that “nasty breakup” than to the other ones3.
The song samples a portion of the 1960s song “Seville” by the legendary Brazilian guitarist and composer Luiz Bonfá1. Gotye said that he wrote and recorded the entire song at his parents’ house on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia. He said that writing the song was a gradual and linear process, and that he hit a brick wall when he had to write the female part and change the perspective3. He wanted to avoid clichés and make the song more realistic and balanced.
The Success of the Song
“Somebody That I Used to Know” was a global success and became both artists’ signature song. It reached the top of the charts in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as 25 other official charts. It also reached the Top 10 in more than 30 countries1. It was the most commercially successful recording of 2011 in Flanders (Belgium), the most successful of 2012 in Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States and Wallonia (Belgium), and the most successful of the 2010s decade by an Australian artist in Australia1. It is certified multi-platinum in ten countries, including Diamond in Australia1. Globally, “Somebody That I Used to Know” has sold more than 20 million copies, becoming one of the best-selling digital singles of all time1.
The song also won many awards and accolades. In Australia, it won the Triple J Hottest 100 poll at the end of 2011, as well as ARIA Music Awards for Song of the Year and Best Video, while Kimbra was voted Best Female Artist, and Gotye was named Best Male Artist and Producer of the Year1. The song came ninth in the Triple J Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years, 20131. At the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, “Somebody That I Used to Know” won two Grammys for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Record of the Year.
The song’s music video, which was directed by Natasha Pincus and released in July 2011, has so far garnered over a billion views on YouTube. The video shows Gotye and Kimbra naked against a painted background that matches their skin tones. The video represents a couple’s relationship and how they blend into each other until they become strangers. The video was based on a work created in the 1980s by Gotye’s artist father, Frank de Backer.
The Interpretations of the Song
The song has been praised by critics for its originality, emotion, and honesty. Many have noted the similarities between the song and works by Sting, Peter Gabriel, David Bowie and American indie folk band Bon Iver. Some have also analyzed the lyrics and their meaning from different perspectives.
For example, some have argued that the song is about narcissism and how one person blames the other for everything that went wrong in their relationship. They say that Gotye portrays himself as a victim who was cut off by his ex-lover without any explanation or closure, while Kimbra shows that he was actually abusive and manipulative and that she had to escape from him. They say that the song exposes the self-delusion and denial that some people have after a breakup, and how they try to erase the memory of their former partners.
Others have suggested that the song is about nostalgia and how one person tries to hold on to the past while the other moves on with their life2. They say that Gotye expresses his sadness and regret over losing someone that he used to love, and how he feels like a stranger to them now2. They say that Kimbra shows that she has grown and changed since their relationship, and that she does not want to be reminded of their painful history. The song reflects the difficulty of letting go of someone that you used to know, and how they become a part of your identity.
“Somebody That I Used to Know” is a song that has resonated with many people who have experienced a breakup or a loss of a loved one. It is a song that captures the complexity and ambiguity of human relationships, and how they can change over time. It is a song that challenges the listeners to think about their own feelings and memories, and how they relate to others. It is a song that has become a cultural phenomenon, and a timeless classic.
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