Gotye, who’s real name is Wouter De Backer is a singer and multi-instrumentalist from Australia but was born in Belgium. He works independently, having released his albums without any kind of major label backing. In addition to his solo career he is also a member of the band The Basics who also release their music independently and have done since their formation in 2002.
His biggest success is the single “Somebody That I Used To Know” that reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts upon its release in 2011. He has received much acclaim throughout his career having been nominated for a number of Grammy and MTV Awards.
Gotye has only released three albums, the last of which was in 2011. He went on hiatus from 2014 to 2019 and has only just recently resurfaced with talks of a planned fourth album. So while he is not what you would describe as a consistent artist, he has yet to produce any bad material so here at Classic Rock we look at the ten best songs from his three records. It will only feature records from his solo career and not any of his work with The Basics.
# 10 – Out Here In The Cold
Kicking off our top ten Gotye songs list we have the opening track from his debut album Boardface released in 2003. Gotye recorded his first songs in 2001 largely using samplers. He compiled a four track demo, of which this song was one of the tracks. The album is a compilation of several demos that he recorded to send out to radio stations.
# 9 – The Only Way
Up next is the opening track (not counting the twenty-three second intro title track) from Gotye’s second album Like Drawing Blood released in 2006. All of the album was recorded in various locations in bedrooms across Australia before being sent to be mixed by producer Francois Tetaz. The album was a success both critically and commercially.
# 8 – Quasimodo’s Dream
In the number eight spot on our Gotye songs list is the song Quasimodo’s Dream.The song was originally by the Australian New Wave band The Reels that was released in 2013. He performed it with Tripod and Eddie Perfect and it was a download/vinyl release that was recorded as part of a campaign on Pledge Music called Save Australian Live Music. The song also has several other covers.
# 7 – Ghosts
Next on the list we have another cover that was also released in 2013 and was originally by the British band Japan. It was a collaboration with a musician known as Yum Cha Sessions. Although the original may have been a big hit, this version unfortunately failed to chart anywhere. This is a shame as it is a very good version.
# 6 – Save Me
This song was released in 2012 as the fifth single from Gotye’s third album Making Mirrors which was released a year earlier in 2011. As was the case with most of the album, the track was recorded in a barn in a block of land owned by his parents. Lyrically it is about Gotye’s struggle with depression and the help that was given to him by his girlfriend.
# 5 – I Feel Better
This song is also taken from Making Mirrors. In 2011 it was released as a digital download in Australia. Gotye wrote and produced the song himself. The song got to number two on the national chart in Flanders. It features a trumpet melody that is sampled from “Brazil” by Edmundo Ross. The song’s chorus was featured in an episode of “The Simpsons.”
# 4 – Learnalilgivinandlovin
This song is a single taken from Like Drawing Blood. A re-recorded version of it was released in Belgium as a single in 2008. The song is a very upbeat number which draws heavy influence from the classic Motown record of the fifties and sixties. It even features a drum sample from The Ronettes “Be My Baby” which was a record that made use of the Wall of Sound technique employed by producer Phil Spector.
# 3 – Hearts A Mess
This next track is also taken from Like Drawing and was released as a single a year later in 2007. It was also included on the soundtrack to the film “The Great Gatsby.” It is another song that contains a sample, this time of “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) by Harry Belafonte. In 2018 the New Zealand duo Broods released a medley cover of this song and another Gotye song “Eyes Wide Open” titled “Eyes A Mess.” Speaking of which…
# 2 – Eyes Wide Open
Just off the top spot is this track from Making Mirrors that was also released as a single. It was first released in 2010 as digital download in Australia before being released in the same way in both the UK and US two years later. Like much of Gotye’s work it was self-written and produced. It got to number fifty-five in Australia and was voted at number twenty-five in the hottest 100 chart by the countries’ Triple J network.
# 1 – Somebody That I Used To Know
You could probably see this coming from a mile away but in a top ten Gotye songs list what else could possibly be at the top spot? The song which is Gotye’s signature tune was the second single to be taken from Making Mirrors. It was written and recorded at Gotye’s partners house and is about his experiences with relationships. It also features New Zealand born singer Kimbra as a guest vocalist.
The song contains a couple of samples. The first is from the instrumental by Luiz Bonfa that was released in 1967. Then there is the first notes of the nursery rhyme “Bah Bah Blacksheep” played on the xylophone. The song was well received critically, with many critics comparing it to the likes of Sting and Peter Gabriel. It was also very commercially successful, winning several awards and charting high all over the world. Among the awards it won were the Triple J Hottest 100 poll at the end of 2011 and the Australian Recording Industry Award for best song and video. Two years after its release it won two Grammy Awards for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Song of the year.
It topped the charts of twenty-six countries including Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US. It also reached the top ten in several other countries. It was the most successful record of the year across several countries and was the most successful record of the 2010’s in Australia. It has been certified platinum in ten countries and has sold over thirteen million copies in total.
The song has also had several covers, being performed on shows such as “American Idol” and “Glee.” It also had a unique music video directed by Australian artist Natasha Pincus which currently has over 1.6 billion views on YouTube.
10 Best Gotye Songs Ranked article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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