If you asked for an unlikely pop hit, I would probably suggest something slow, acoustic, with weird instruments, and not from an American artist. Yet, “Somebody That I Used to Know” appears to have broken all the rules and propelled Australian-Belgian singer Gotye to international stardom.
Gotye enjoyed a devoted following in Australia, but had not achieved any substantial international acclaim for his acoustic, thoughtful songs. Then, inspiration struck him in the middle of the night in his parents’ barn. He quickly penned the lyrics and laid down the track “Somebody That I Used to Know.”
After finding a female vocalist to enhance the story, the 21-year-old New Zealander Kimbra in this case, Gotye released the song as a single from his upcoming album, Making Mirrors. It took off.
At present, the song has topped the charts in fifteen countries around the world. It sits atop the American iTunes charts and lies at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Australia has been very kind to the song. It has been at #1 for 8 weeks there (2nd best all-time) and has been certified as 8X platinum. That’s nothing on Poland, though. In the Northern European country, “Somebody That I Used to Love” has been at #1 for an all-time high of 18 weeks. It’s the all-time most popular song there.
Gotye’s ballad has also topped the charts in Austria, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Ireland among other places.
It’s also been a hit song on social media. The music video has more than 106 million views on YouTube and a cover version by Walk Off the Earth has more than 66 million views.
There’s also an incredibly popular a capella version of the song by Pentatonix.
Must be good to be Gotye these days.