16 March, 2012

It's Friday: Let's Piss Off Gotye!

Since July, Gotye - who I've been pronouncing as "Got Ya" until yesterday when I found out it's pronounced "Gaultier", you know, go-tee-ay - has had this song on the Current that, every time I hear it, it drives me up the wall. Not in anger, but in the sense that it's one of those songs that sounds like its old but it really isn't. Remember the New Radicals? Anybody? No? I don't blame you, that was some mid-80s pop bullshit straight up ripping off Tears for Fears...
... except that it came out in 1998. It's one of those songs that you hear and ask, "Where do I know that from?" and the answer is, "Last week."
And so it was with Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know".
I heard it and I immediately asked, Where have I heard this?
And the answer came back from Georgie - she's the one that listens to the Current in the office, I'm the one that watches Sam Peckinpah flicks - that it's been on the Current lately, here and there. Well, me? I don't listen to the Current. I tried when I first moved here and one time they played "Kerosene" and that was pretty cool but, for the most part, a large part of the Current's playlist lacks, um, balls. Fairly ball-less. I'm not saying that the music they play is small-balled. I'm saying that balls are largely absent entirely from the Current's musical vocabulary. What can I tell you?

I still want to make this t-shirt.
So, I'm in the office this past weekend, digging around in my pantry (I keep my pantry in the office), and this song pops into my life again and I ask Georgie for probably the eleventh - OK, maybe more like second time, Where do I know this?
"Oh, they play it on the Current now and again."
When did it come out?
"Last year, I think."
You're shitting me. Is it a cover?
Georgie shrugged.
I swear I know this from somewhere.
Georgie shrugged. She does that a lot when it comes to, you know, everything I say.
So I come around to the office computer and see that the song is "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra. Should be pretty easy to look up.
The next day, I Wikipedia the song and find out that there's a reason it sounds old: The bulk of the song is a sample of the first two or three seconds or so of "Seville" by Luiz Bonfá from 1967's Luiz Bonfá Plays Great Songs. So there's that.
And then I keep reading the Wikipedia entry and see this:
Gotye – lead and backing vocals, writer, producer, guitar, flutes and samples
Kimbra – lead and backing vocals
Lucas Taranto – bass guitar
François Tétaz – mixer
Nowhere does it say anything about the damned xylophone line. So it has to be a sample, right? Some old song, something that would use a xylophone. Maybe an old Harry Belafonte song or some shit. So I go looking and digging and it turns out that it's a sample from a children's record. The song? "Baa Baa Black Sheep".
You're probably thinking to yourself, "Duh, Charlie. You didn't recognize 'Baa Baa Black Sheep'?" Thing is, though, I didn't recognize it because it doesn't use the tune that I'd always heard it in, the "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / ABC" tune. Anyway, that problem is solved. It sounds like an old song because it samples two old songs. Whoopity-doopity.
Now a new problem has a risen. In the course of researching this song, I've had to listen to it, repeatedly. And when I have to listen to something repeatedly, I tend to pick up on, you know, the lyrics.
And there's this line that sticks out about somebody changing their phone number and, from the sound of things, Goatboy's not happy about it. This catches my attention because, and I don't know how any of your relationships have ended, my little illiterati, even after my worst breakups, nobody changed their number. And I've had breakups ranging from mutual to weird to fucking violent and nobody ever changed their number. Hell, I'm Facebook friends with - let me check - OK, only one of my exes, I used to be friends with three of them but those are two other long stories. Oh and we're also in each other's Google+ circles. What I'm getting at is that out of all my breakups, nothing has been horrible enough to warrant any phone number changing. So however Gotye's shit went down the toilet had to be pretty fucking bad.
So I do the unthinkable and look up the lyrics to see what he's on about.
Allow me to change into something more comfortable.
"Somebody That I Used To Know"
(feat. Kimbra)

Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it's an ache I still remember

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
Like resignation to the end, always the end
So when we found that we could not make sense
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I'll admit that I was glad it was over

But you didn't have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don't even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
No you didn't have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don't need that though
Now you're just somebody that I used to know

Now you're just somebody that I used to know
Now you're just somebody that I used to know

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was always something that I'd done
But I don't wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn't catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know

But you didn't have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don't even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
And you didn't have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don't need that though
Now you're just somebody that I used to know

(I used to know)
(Now you're just somebody that I used to know)

(I used to know)
(That I used to know)
(I used to know)
My rebuttal.
(feat. me)

[Take it away, Gotye.]
Yeah, I've had a few too many to drink some nights, myself, too.
OK, who says that? Nobody says that.
I've done that.
I've used that lyric.
Understandable, you don't just forget entire periods of your life.

Yeah, they make medication for that.
As happens with all couples.
Guy, nobody ever means that.
And now you're a free agent, go get all that ass you've been missing.

Yeah, she did. It's called a break up for a reason.
That's part of the healing process, guy.
So you tell yourself.
Asshole, look: You two broke up. Move on.
Wait... how?
Uh, your clingy asshole midnight phone calls are freaking her out.
Need what? Her number? Because, no, you don't.
That's a healthier way of looking at it.

It makes it easier to move on.
Now go get to know somebody new. With your penis.

[The defense calls Kimbra to the stand...]
Wait up. So he screwed you over?
And convinced you that was it your fault? That's what sociopaths do.
I don't blame you. Fucking dump that guy and get your ass gone.
You shouldn't have to do that. Relationships are not puzzles.
Oh, he was lying.
Uh, nope. He basically spent the whole first half of the song doing just that.

[Anything to add, Gotye?]
We've been over this. You're a clingy asshole.
She had to, after all the weird bullshit you put her through.
Keep telling yourself that.
Yes, not calling after breaking up is "treating you like a stranger".
You see? There's that sociopath shit we talked about.
Because she needs space, guy. Let it go.
You ever think about what a pain in the ass it it for her?
Now she has to tell everybody (except you) her new phone number.

[Twice as nice.]
Who had to change their phone number.
Their phone number until they changed it.
Was freaked out by your needy, clingy bullshit.
Which, ultimately, is for the best.

And now you don't.
How was this thing a hit, again?
It's over. Both the relationship and the song.

Lyrics reprinted under section 107 of United States copyright law:

§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.