Behind The Song: Gotye “Somebody That I Used To Know”
It was hard to go anywhere in 2012 without hearing Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.” It comes as no surprise the track has been nominated for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 55th GRAMMY Awards.
“Somebody That I Used to Know” features Kimbra on vocals, as the female yang to Gotye’s male yin. The singer explained to Radio.com how she came to be a part of the song.
Long before Kimbra met Gotye she was a huge fan of his work. The self-proclaimed “fan girl” covered his songs at bars in Australia. After meeting him through her producer, Gotye called her up to see if she’d be interested in singing on his song, “Somebody That I Used To Know.”
“And the rest as they say is history,” she told Radio.com.
Kimbra weighed in on why she thinks the song has had an impact on so many people.
“When I first heard the track I had a feeling it would really resonate with people because it had this brutal honesty about it. It had this awkward fragility as well in the arrangement,” she said. “In terms of seeing it go to No. 1 around the world, that’s not something I ever could have expected especially because it’s a song that defies a lot of Top 40 formulas.
“It’s been cool to be a part of that and to see a change in the way people are receiving music in the mainstream. It’s nice to see people responding to something that’s a bit different.”
“Somebody That I Used To Know” remains one of the biggest songs from last year. It spent eight weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and has sold more than 13 million copies worldwide making it one of the best-selling digital singles of all time. Last May, it became the first song to top the Hot 100, Alternative Songs and Dance/Club Play Songs charts according to Billboard.
“It obviously captured an emotion for people in a way that hadn’t been said before, did it in a slightly different way,” Kimbra said. “There’s a sense of tension in the song or intrigue the first time you hear it. Perhaps you have that sense of wanting to hear it again and understand a bit more of the story. And the fact that it tells two sides, it’s not coming from one perspective. Everyone knows how it feels to want to have their side of the story told.”
Despite the worldwide radio airplay and now two GRAMMY nods, Kimbra is still in shock at the song’s popularity.
“It still baffles me. I think that’s the beautiful mystery of music,” she said. “You don’t necessarily know why something is so successful. It just hits at a perfect moment for people and strikes a chord and starts a chain reaction around the world.”
The GRAMMYs air February 10 on CBS.
-Annie Reuter, Radio.com