At one point, Gotye considered scrapping the song.
“It was challenging to finish,” he told the BBC in March.
“I hit a brick wall after I hit the first chorus, and it took me a few weeks to decide if I should write the second verse from a female perspective. But I stuck with it, and I was really proud once it was finished.”
The Belgian-born musician was talking about his chart smashing hit, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and we can be certain he is glad the song does not sit atop a proverbial scrap heap.
In Australia alone, he has walked away with accolades number one on The Hottest One Hundred, ARIAs in the mix, and a flagship tune for his latest album, Making Mirrors. In the U.S. the song has hit the number 1 spot in the Billboard charts, and has remained in Billboard’s top 100 Music Hits for 17 consecutive weeks.
The song’s reputation has been helped by a feature on the TV show Glee as well as a performance by Gotye and Kimbra on Saturday Night Live. However, we believe it was the low budget but highly creative music video that propelled the song for such overnight success. “”it hasn’t been by any kind of conscious construction to fit the common mold of pop music, it’s taken me by surprise, I really didn’t expect for the song to be a pop cross over song” Gotye clarified on a recent interview. When asked about how Kimbra, the featured New Zeland singer felt about being naked in the video he stated “she was pretty easy going, I just told her ‘hey check out this concept’ and she didn’t say much more, she’s a good sport. ”
The song has an elusive and alluring cinematic like quality, like a movie that you watch for the first time and know that you need to watch it again because you missed something. The tone is so earnest and genuinely emotional that it feels like this betrayal is happening to you.
Visually, the music video is interesting, artistic and while never showing any real nudity, flirts with the idea constantly. There is a playfulness to the video that is fun and intimate to watch and again, like the song, makes you feel like you’re involved somehow by keeping you hooked on seeing the video till the end in order to see the final result of each triangle shaped color pieces all together.
On an interview at South by Southwest Festival, Kimbra commented “this collaboration was really amazing, we’ve gone all around the world because of that song, we didn’t expect the success of it, as far as the making of the video, well it was very challenging, obviously I was working with people I hand’t really met before in quite unclothed state” Kimbra laughingly stated. “It was also very long hours having to stand by that wall for the animation, but its very rewarding to see how well the video has done, so it was quite worth it.”
The song has achieved number one status in several other countries as well, including the U.K.