I Am DB

December 13, 2011

Earworm Attack: Somebody That I Used to Know

Filed under: Music — DB @ 10:32 pm

Friends and family know me as a guy who’s always pretty aware of what’s happening in the world of movies. My annual and insufferable essays about the Oscars are evidence enough of that (only a month or so to go before all that starts up!). But in other areas, I’m quite uninformed or behind the times. Two realms in which this holds most true are music and technology. With technology, I’m usually five years or so behind the curve. Just recently I discovered this nifty little device called the – hang on, let me make sure I have this right – the iPod. The spelling looks wrong, but I guess that’s how they do it. I probably don’t need to explain to you what it is, but I was just floored. I had a great time filling it up with music…mostly the same music I’d already been listening to on compact disc for years. Because I don’t get exposed to a lot of new music either. I rarely listen to the radio, usually just playing CDs in the car, or using this new iPod thing. (“iPod”…that just looks wrong).

Disaster recently struck when the CD player in my car stopped working. I brought the car into the dealer and learned that it would cost between $300 and $400 to replace it. The car is over 11 years old and I’m not putting any more money into it, especially for something non-essential. So I’m now listening to a lot more radio. I basically shuffle between San Francisco’s two rock stations: KFOG and 107.7 The Bone. When one is playing a commercial or something that’s not floating my boat, I switch to the other. I thought it would drive me crazy not having my CD player, but the radio scenario has worked out pretty well. And one silver lining is that I’ve heard some good music that I might not have come across otherwise. Some of it is older stuff that I’d never heard, and some is new.

Now these are mainstream radio stations, so I’m hardly exploring the murky underworld of struggling indie bands. But I recently heard one track that made me feel like I was getting in on something at the ground floor even though I’m probably way behind the times. It seems to be gaining popularity, and has certainly burrowed its way into the depths of my frontal lobe. It’s called “Somebody That I Used to Know,” by Gotye. I’d never heard of this guy. Maybe some of you have. Maybe a lot of you have. Either way, I have to figure that if the song is catching on here, it’s getting play in other major markets as well. Gotye was born in Belgium and raised in Melbourne (the foreign credentials give him instant cred in the music biz, right?). If you want to learn more about him you can visit his Wikipedia page or his website; I’m not gonna do all the work here. Anyway, this song is off his new album, Making Mirrors. It’s available on iTunes (something else iRecently discovered after learning all about the iPod) and his website says it’s out now, though Amazon lists it as due for release on January 31. Luckily it has a video, which I’ve been playing incessantly due to complete inability to expunge the song from my head. This too shall pass, I know. In the meantime, take a look and give a listen. The video is cool and complements the song quite nicely.

One of the things I like about the song is the late, unexpected entrance of the female vocalist, Kimbra. By the time she shows up, you pretty much think you have a handle on the song; that it’s simply a guy’s account of a recent breakup. Then she comes in and makes us reassess what we’ve heard from him. The video finds a cool way to present this visually, not only by revealing her slowly, but by showing her enmeshed in all of his bullshit and then ultimately becoming free of it. Or am I just reading too deep into the pretty colors?

Can’t…stop…singing…this…

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