Song of the Day #1,638: ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ – Gotye

gotyeTop Songs of 2012 – #1

I first heard the best song of 2012 toward the end of 2011. Gotye’s video for ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ turned up on a list of great videos and I watched about half of it before deciding not to include it in my year-end collection.

What amazes me is that I listened to the song that first time without really hearing it. A year later, it’s at the top of my ‘best songs’ list but at the time it barely registered.

Gotye released the single in early 2012 and ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ slowly began to turn up everywhere I looked. Facebook friends posted it, my wife told me her students were obsessed with it, my own children started asking to hear it. And only then did I return to it and really discover it for the first time.

This song is wonderful because it somehow feels brand-new. I don’t know if it’s the minimalist instrumentation and production, the surprise second vocalist, the fact that it goes verse-chorus-verse-chorus and then it’s done, or what… but it doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard before.

I’ve been meaning to listen to Making Mirrors, the album from which this song came, because clearly Gotye has the goods. But I suspect that nothing else on the record will strike a nerve the way this song did.

Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
Like resignation to the end, always the end
So when we found that we could not make sense
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I’ll admit that I was glad that it was over

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

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was always something that I’d done
And I don’t wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know

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
Somebody, I used to know
(Somebody) Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Somebody, I used to know
(Somebody) Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
I used to know, that I used to know, I used to know somebody

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,638: ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ – Gotye

  1. Dana says:

    I completely agree that this song is fresh and wonderful. In the era of pop songs with overproduced synth heavy instrumentation and ubiquitous rap bridges, it’s nice to hear a well crafted melody muscle into the airwaves.

  2. Amy says:

    The first time I remember hearing this song was when it appeared on Glee. Darren Criss and Matt Bomer (playing his brother) performed it, giving the lyrics a decidedly different interpretation. I like it, though I can’t say it struck a nerve with me the way it did with you. I found other songs more fresh or 2012, if you will. “Call Me Maybe,” “Never Ever Getting Back Together,” and “Payphone” were all far more catchy and ubiquitous (in a good way šŸ˜‰ for me.

  3. Daniel says:

    I find it hard to enjoy a song when you”ve heard it a million times… I remember the first time I heard this song was on glee, after that i heard it at least 10 times befote i determined I hated it. When i shared that opinion with my school “friends” they said that I was crazy and that this song was the best song ever… l knew i had to look at it in a new way for many times after that… but then I heard it for , like, 30 more times and then determined I disliked it again.I can’t doubt that this is a well structured song with very cool music and interesting lyrics… that has been played a million times.

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