I saw something recently that got me very excited. Excited enough to break over a year of blogger’s block. What I saw was this:
(I know it’s been out for a month already but living in Scandinavia surrounded by statuesque Nordic babes sometimes distracts me from keeping tabs on the Australasian music scene mmkay.)
The above release from Aussie outfit Gotye featuring New Zealand’s own Kimbra got me excited for a number of reasons.
First of all, it’s just a damn good song. Gotye doing what he does best – the reggae/dub strum rhythm, drummer-boy percussion and of course Wally De Backer’s strong, emotionally-charged vocals. Gotye is no stranger to the jilted lover theme – check out the lyrics to Heart’s a Mess – however he cleverly utilizes an underused love song storyline here to which listeners obviously relate. However, he avoids the cliché trap by crafting the lyrics with humanity and honesty. The pop-friendly chorus and a less-is-more approach instrumentally also give Somebody That I Used To Know a kick of accessibility that previous Gotye singles have lacked.
Another strong point of this release is of course the video. Natasha Pincus employs an interactive arts and crafts approach (which brought to mind this creepy Flight of the Conchords moment) to create a kaleidoscopic part-human canvas. Gotye’s magnetic performance enhances Pincus’ visually arresting set, which is a pleasant surprise given he rarely features in his videos. This may have been a factor in the video’s success on youtube – while Gotye’s previous sci-fi-esque animated videos were impressive, his strong presence in this video heightens the emotional intensity of the song.
And of course, the thing that makes this song/video REALLY awesome is of course: Kimbra. Now I will admit straight off the bat that I have been, for many years, an unashamed Kimbrafile. I won’t go into what I have preached before, suffice to say Kimbra’s mega-talented and y’all will convert sooner or later because this girl is gonna be BIG.
As the Hamiltronian still hasn’t released her debut album, I have been reduced to scrounging around for morsels that fall off the back of the production wagon. So I was delighted to learn that Kimbra was featuring on Gotye’s new hit. Not entirely surprising given both artists share producer Francois Tetaz and Kimbra has covered Gotye’s songs in the past. But still, a stroke of genius nonetheless. Kimbra’s vocal strength is a fine match for De Backer and, just quietly, their unfair genetic advantage combined with all the half-nakedness in the video is pretty damn hot.
And finally, it got me flippin’ excited because both of these artists have impending album release dates at the end of this month. Props to whoever was behind this bad boy because not only is it a gorgeous song and a creatively inspiring video, it is also a bloody good piece of strategy. Hell, I’ll be the first to admit that this video was directly responsible for my interest in Gotye’s upcoming album. And it looks like I’m not the only one interested, given that this song is currently no. 1 in the Australian itunes downloads charts. In fact, when I started writing this article the youtube clip was at just over 800,000 views and is now at 1.1 million and counting (despite being online for merely one month).
There you have it amigos. Do yourselves a favour and jump onto itunes, or do it the old school way and head to your local record store, on the following dates to snap up these tasty Australasian musical offerings:
19 August – Making Mirrors by Gotye
29 August/2 September– Vows by Kimbra (New Zealand and Australian release dates respectively)