Follow TV Tropes


Music / Gotye

Go To

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.
— "Somebody That I Used to Know"

Describe Gotye here. He's somewhat tall, Belgian-Australian, male...

Wouter "Wally" De Backer (born 21 May 1980), better known by his stage name Gotye, is an indie/alternative rock singer song-writer best known for his #1 hit "Somebody That I Used to Know" though other songs of his have charted such as "Eyes Wide Open" which got to #96 on the Hot 100 and "Hearts A Mess" charted #8 on Triple J Hot 100 of 2006. His singing style has been compared to Sting and Peter Gabriel, while his music videos were once described by Todd in the Shadows as, "Like happier versions of tool videos."


  • After the End: A possibility to the video for "Eyes Wide Open"
  • Alternative Rock: Also Indie Pop.
  • Album Title Drop: In Making Mirrors, he does one with the song of the same name.
    Maybe we're only making mirrors.
  • Animated Music Video: "Hearts A Mess", "Learnalilgivinanlovin", "Bronte", "Thanks for Your Time", "State of the Art", "Eyes Wide Open", and "Seven Hours With A Backseat Driver".
  • Auto-Tune: Used on "State Of The Art." Gotye sang the whole thing in a monotone, then manipulated it until it sounded completely alien.
  • Bizarre Instrument: From near the ending to "Save Me", he has found out how different an auto harp sounds when each plucked note is quickly sampled and played back on a MIDI keyboard, as opposed to being played on the actual instrument.
    • Hear that low, piano-like sound in "Eyes Wide Open"? It isn't a piano. It's a recording of this.
    • Most of "State of the Art" is played on a Lowrey Cotillion, a 70's home organ (famous for being used by The Who on "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again"), which is also what the song is about.
  • Body Paint: He and Kimbra in "Somebody That I Used to Know"
  • Break-Up Song: "Somebody That I Used to Know"
  • Cloudcuckoo Lander: To say the least. Just read his biography on his website.
  • Cool Train: One with hologram windows and a propellor in the backing visuals for "Dig Your Own Hole".
  • Cover Version: While Gotye himself hasn't covered anything, "Somebody That I Used to Know" has been covered by many artists such as Miley Cyrus, Fun's front-man Nate Ruess with Hayley Williams, Matt Bomer, Phillip Phillips, Glee, Walk Off the Earth, Pentatonix, Three Days Grace and 210,000 Youtubers.
    • Gotye himself then remixed a plethora of the aforementioned YouTube covers into one super-version of the song, titling it Somebodies.
  • Crossover: With Kimbra in "Somebody That I Used to Know"
  • Christian Rock: "In Your Light" is about how thrilled Gotye is to have God in his life, though this is his only really religious song.
  • Earthy Barefoot Character: In the music video for "Bronte", the Girl used to be one of these, wild and untamed and running around barefoot, playing with bison in the forest. However, as she gets older, she becomes gentrified. One day, when she has matured into a young college age woman, she spies her beloved forest again, instinctively abandons her shoes and trades them for bare feet. The scenes focus on her shod feet, sneakers left behind in the grass, and her bare feet crossing over a low-lying tree branch. It suggests she has freed herself from society to run wild again.
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": The subject of "Thanks For Your Time." There's even a spoken-word breakdown in which the singer is put on hold by an obnoxious automated answering system.
  • Gender Bender: There was a rumor that he was gonna get a sex change. Gotye said, “Do I have to? Maybe its fun keeping it open.
  • Genre-Busting: His stuff is rather hard to pin down with just one descriptor. Basically, the style of the song depends entirely what he's sampling.
  • Genre Mashup: There are elements of Reggae, Jazz, Worldbeat, Rock and Latin all over his music, but none of those ever appears in pure form.
  • Ignored Expert: "Eyes Wide Open" alludes to the devastating effects of climate change, and what would happen if humanity continued to ignore scientists' warnings about it.
    Some people offered up answers
    We made out like we heard, they were only words
    They didn't add up to a change in the way we were living
    And the saddest thing is that all of this could've been avoided
  • Innocence Lost: A possible interpretation of the backing visuals to "Seven Hours With A Backseat Driver".
  • Last Note Nightmare: The album version of "Giving Me A Chance" end with a brief silence after the track ends, then a quiet sonic mass builds up to a sample of the, "Don't worry" from "Dig Your Own Hole".
  • Melismatic Vocals: Occasionally.
  • More Popular Spin Off: Gotye is, well was at least until their hiatus ends in 2014, in a Rock band called The Basics, but chances are you only know about them because of Gotye who despite being the drummer could be called the face of the band.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Like Drawing Blood was named after an injury he sustained while licking an envelope.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Bronte" and "Like Drawing Blood".
  • The Oner: The "Easy Way Out" music video. In stop motion with multiple Gotyes, no less!
  • Postmodernism: "State of the Art" is a song about making a song on the state of the art synthesizer.
  • Retraux: "Somebody That I Used To Know" fits this.
    • This then reaches its natural conclusion care of a YouTubernote  making a 1980s remix of it, followed by a convincing and creative 1980s-style music video by another YouTuber note .
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He's on the receiving end from Kimbra in "Somebody That I Used to Know."
  • Sampling: Something Gotye is very fond of.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Does this too many times to count, and it is glorious.
  • Shout-Out: Possibly to The Wall in the video for "Hearts a Mess". At the 0:27 mark, the marching long-legged creatures look identical to the marching hammers in "Waiting for the Worms".
    • The bows that appear during the string part of the "State Of The Art" video resemble the ones from the "Toccata and Fugue" segment from Fantasia.
  • Stage Names: "Gotye" is a phonetic spelling of "Gautier", the French equivalent of his real name Wouter (which is Dutch).
  • Technology Porn: "State of the Art", both the song and the video, are built around hyping up the functions of a very advanced synthesizer. Word of God points out that it's specifically about a second-hand 1980s organ that Gotye once bought.
  • Title Track: Both Like Drawing Blood and Making Mirrors have a short one at the beginning.
  • Villain Protagonist: The main character of "Somebody That I Used To Know" is a passive-aggressive, guilt-tripping, douchebag whose ex likely broke up with due to extemely poor behavior. Kimbra, playing the ex, rightfully calls out his bullshit in the third verse.

Don't worry...