How to Pronounce Gotye (and Other Useful Information)

How to Pronounce Gotye (and Other Useful Information)

How do you pronounce Gotye?  What even is a Gotye?  Where did Gotye come from and why is the song “Somebody That I Used to Know” played everywhere, despite the bad grammar in the title?  Why is everyone from suburban moms to 15-year old boys crazy about Gotye?  I’ve researched all of this for you.  Oh, and I’ve listened to the new album, “Making Mirrors,” 14 times since I bought it a week ago (thanks to iTunes for keeping track of obsessive tendencies).

First things first: the pronunciation.  When this strange word appeared on my car radio, I nearly drove off the road trying to make sense of the five random letters.  I finally satisfied myself by deciding that Gotye was pronounced something like got ya.  It’s like he just pulled a prank on someone- got ya!

Then I consulted a source of unfailingly accurate information: Wikipedia.  According to Wiki, Gotye is actually pronounced go-tea-yay.  My little mnemonic to remember that was to think about being excited about someone’s facial hair (“Goatee- yay!”).  Alternatively, it could be encouraging words for a teaching assistant (“Go, T.A.!”).

Alas, according to Gotye’s very own website, both of those pronunciations are incorrect.  It’s actually pronounced gore-ti-yeah.  That doesn’t really lend itself to any fun associations, so even though I’m inclined to believe this last source, I may still use my own pronunciation (in my head anyway).

Now, who is Gotye?  He’s a 31-year old from Australia, and this is his third album, so he didn’t quite pop out of nowhere like it seems.  The massive popularity and radio play of “Somebody That I Used to Know” has definitely catapulted him into the spotlight, though.  Last week he made his U.S. television debut on Jimmy Kimmel.  And the meaning of Gotye?  It’s the French translation of his name, Walter (he goes by Wally).  Don’t you feel like you practically know him?

“Making Mirrors” is really eclectic.  If you are expecting all of the songs to sound like “Somebody That I Used to Know,” you may be disappointed.  I admit that I thought “Making Mirrors” was a little weird when I first listened to it, but not in a bad way that made me want to stop listening.  With only a few exceptions, I really liked the album.  The songs are SO diverse that it seems almost impossible for a single person to like all 12 of them.

I tend to like the more up-tempo songs on the “Making Mirrors” (“Easy Way Out,” “Somebody That I Used to Know,” “Eyes Wide Open” and “In Your Light”).  There are a couple songs that are a bit too sleepy or strange for me, and there is one that sounds like it might be covering something that The Partridge Family might have played (“I Feel Better”).  Again, the key word is eclectic.

I always enjoy listening to something different, and "Making Mirrors" certainly was.  Here is the video for “Somebody That I Used to Know”- I don’t really understand what the video has to do with the song, but it’s kind of cool anyway.  Enjoy!

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  • Ha! "Gore-t'ya" sounds like a strange greeting from another language ("Gore t'ya, as well. Lovely weather").

    Kimbra has a couple cool, jazzy songs, too. I dunno if it's an album's worth, but the videos are fun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XjNlpe7hII

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    i still don't understand what you said about the title of the song having bad grammar , I mean what's wrong with it?

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    In reply to Dani Guzman:

    It should be "somebody whom I used to know"

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    In reply to Dani Guzman:

    Agree with you, what matter with it, lyrics are awesome , love it badly

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    For a really nice Gotten treat look for Walk Of The Earths cover of that song. 5 musicians and one guitar. It's an amazing cover of Somebody That I Used To Know. Better actually.

  • In reply to Terry Gardner:

    Terry, my daughter sent me the link to that video- it's awesome. Thanks for the reminder- I'm going to post the video on my FB page!

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    Yeah, the video is a little strange. I could be off on this interpretation but here it goes. It seems like the encroaching triangles of various colors as they sing is a way of saying how the relationship's construction was a prism of sorts, a way that they both understood the world around them as a couple. So together they absorbed and reflected experiences and understandings of those experiences that changed them as people - or maybe better said, that made up who they were as people during that time. But in the context of the song - dealing with their break-up - the woman withdrew from the relationship to such an extent that she denied any part in being affected or changed or even involved in the experiences of the relationship. He was guilty of making problems solely about her, which she found painful. She removes herself from the prism, and that's what he finds painful. And at the end of the video that's why we see her painted form losing the "color" of the relationship and its prismatic distinction. He says that's low, even as she shares her reason for doing so. What do you think? Sound possible or just a load of crap? :)

  • In reply to David Clinkscales:

    David, I'm impressed by the analysis! Hard to know what to make of it, but I like your theory. I have a friend whose preschool and kindergarten sons colored their 3-year old sisters from head to toe (ears, fingernails, etc.) with magic marker to be "like the Gotye video). It's hilarious!

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    In reply to David Clinkscales:

    Oh, you put a lotta thought into that...when I saw the video, I thought that it was conveying that they were always, only, abstractly interested in each other. He always 'felt alone in her company' and he was "glad that it [the relationship] was over" when it finally was over. They were both part of the painting but they had distorted views of each other. And I also think the vibrant green against all the other muted, earthy tones means something important too, but I can't quite consign myself to what that could be.

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    In reply to Iammyself:

    ahhh...greener pastures, perhaps?

  • It's interesting how you called him out on the poor grammar in the song title... but then you used the word "pneumonic"

    I somehow doubt you're referring to lung problems - perhaps you meant "mnemonic"? ;)

  • In reply to Kara:

    Ha, right you are, Kara! I can't believe you're the first person to point that out to me- making the correction right now. Thanks for keeping me honest.

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