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Mirroring Good Music

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In what I deem as the “week of Gotye,” I decided to listen to his album in full, after hearing “Somebody That I Used To Know” four different ways on Glee, The Voice and American Idol, plus the original (in my order of preference). When listening to this Belgian-Austalian singer’s new album, Smoke and Mirrors, you can make several comparisons to other artists, but he does it in a way that is somehow unique. The album starts off a little slow, with “Making Mirrors” and “Easy Way Out” combining to a length of two minutes and 58 seconds. They had no effect whatsoever; I listened to them a half hour ago and can’t remember what they’re about. Then comes the monster hit, which if I’m being honest, I haven’t actually heard this version before reviewing this album. I must say, I’m a little disappointed, because after hearing the emotion that Darren Criss and Matt Bomer put into their cover, hearing the original was underwhelming. I believe that Gotye wrote the song, and that the experience actually happened to him, but it doesn’t sound like he cares that much.

Each song ends so abruptly that it leaves you wanting more, yet almost completely satisfied, which I guess is what an artist is always trying to achieve with their music. “Smoke and Mirrors” is a little cliche, but it has a bluesy vibe that I love. There’s a subtlety to the vocals that work on this track, but that show signs of a powerhouse voice that’s itching to come out. He clearly has mommy issues in this song, and he leaves nothing to the imagination about how he feels. In the last minute of the song there’s a random African drum that has nothing to do with the rest of the song, and as I stated before, ends abruptly. It’s so bizarre, but it makes you thinks it’s brilliant.

On “In Your Light” and “I Feel Better” he has a distinct Motown vibe that I wish he would’ve explored throughout the whole album. It showcases the potential of his voice, but is also a good fit for him as an artist. “In Your Light” is a far superior song, that almost sounds like a cross between George Michael’s “Faith” and something Phil Collins would do. It is also one of the first signs that Gotye doesn’t just write angry songs. Best track on the album in my opinion.

“State of the Art” left me puzzled as to what I should say about it. A part of me wants to tear it apart because it is so far outside anything on this album and it was thrown on just to sound futuristic and live up to its name. The effects bugged me, because the voice changer used makes it sound like something a hip-hop artist would do, and that is the last genre I think Gotye belongs in. But if I take it as a song by itself instead of part of the album, it’s very inventive and sounds like something out of Rocky Horror Picture Show. The video below explains the reasoning behind the lyrics and style choices he made on the song (starting at 5:19), which after watching it, make me lean towards Rocky Horror, not hip-hop.  

“Don’t Worry, We’ll Be Watching You” makes you feel like you’ve been drugged and this is a song that is being sung to you a you’re being stuffed in the trunk of a car. The last three songs sound like Enrique Iglesias, Sting and Chicago or Survivor, which make for a very interesting mix of songs, voices and themes. I can’t say I know what Gotye was thinking when he made this album, and I doubt anybody would’ve made the choices he did, but this album leaves me wanting more and waiting for the confusion and amazement I’m in for next.

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Written by smschira

April 15, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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