Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Gotye -- Making Mirrors
Pop music is often like the result of a large group of people trying to decide on a restaurant. Once the group gets too big, everyone just has to settle for McDonald's, and McDonald's sucks. Pop music is music made for the largest group of people possible. It almost always sucks.
It doesn't always suck, though. Peter Gabriel's 1986 album, So, is one of my favorite of all time, and I can't even pretend that it isn't pop music. It went platinum five times. However, So is full of imaginative, powerfully emotional songs. Gabriel managed to capture the zeitgeist of popular tastes at the time, and yet create something timeless and artful.
So anyway, here's this Gotye kid. As of this posting, his video for the song "Somebody That I Used to Know" has over 400,000,000 views on Youtube. That is not an exaggeration. It's a fact.
That's a lot of eyeballs, but "Somebody That I Used To Know" is a really cool video, and the song is great. It somehow matches the tastes of millions, but hits the highest common denominator of the pack. This doesn't happen often. This Gotye guy is special.
You know what?
This is South Louisiana. From here on out, it's Gauthier.
The rest of Gauthier's Making Mirrors is just as experimental, sometimes not as poppy, but always rings true to the vision of a talented, individual artist. This guy isn't the product of a corporate boardroom. He's legit. Even when he's failing, like on the Motown-inspired mistake, "I Feel Better," his earnest delivery carries the song. He's best off in the Gabriel vein, though, creating vast aural landscapes to plant his melodies upon, especially on "Eyes Wide Open." He does a great job of tightly controlling a song, but knows when the album needs to breathe, like the expansive, darkly self-critical "Smoke and Mirrors," or the delightfully strange "State of the Art."
Gabriel was in his mid-30's when he recorded So. Gauthier will be there in a few years. I'm excited to see what this time in the spotlight will do to him. I hope it elevates Gauthier to a position where he grabs his opportunity to craft a timeless classic (which Making Mirrors is not, fine album though it is), and doesn't fizzle him out like so many others. Considering the talent he shows on Making Mirrors, the former seems far more likely.
1. Making Mirrors 1:01
2. Easy Way Out 1:57
3. Somebody That I Used to Know (featuring Kimbra) 4:04
4. Eyes Wide Open 3:11
5. Smoke and Mirrors 5:13
6. I Feel Better 3:18
7. In Your Light 4:39
8. State of the Art 5:22
9. Don't Worry, We'll Be Watching You 3:18
10. Giving Me a Chance 3:07
11. Save Me 3:53
12. Bronte 3:18