Dear Wally (aka Gotye)
I’m writing to you to share a recent concern I have with you. I’ve been a big fan of your music for sometime now, and will undoubtably continue to be a big fan of your music for a long time to come – “Like Drawing Blood” is a beautiful album that I played endlessly when it first came out, and while I’ve been a little musically isolated to listen to “Making Mirrors” properly, what I’ve heard has been mostly amazing…
And there’s the rub Wally. I say mostly amazing, because while the vast majority of the album is the same emotion-driven, multi-layered sound experience we’ve come to expect from you – commercial radio has latched onto one of your songs off the album, and have quite frankly started to take the piss with it. I speak of course of “Somebody That I Used To Know”.
Now (as you undoubtedly know) the single for this was released on July 6th last year. I’d somehow managed to completely miss it, and for that I’m sorry – I was about to head off the Edinburgh Fringe, and since I’ve returned I’ve not really listened to the radio until recently. But on Australia day I heard friends back home complain that you’d taken the top spot in Triple J’s 2012 Hottest 100 – complain, Wally. I listened to it and didn’t understand – it sounded like a decent song! It’s got nothing on “The Only Way” or “Hearts a Mess”, but it didn’t seem right to complain that you’d taken the top spot.
This is pretty hard to compete with, even for you
However since I started a new job about 6 weeks ago – where my colleagues listen to BBC Radio 1 all the time – I completely understand where my friends complaining in Australia are coming from. Because through a combination of heavy paint-mixing machinery and sheer willpower I can usually tune out about 99% of the banal bullshit Radio 1 plays, some how you hitting the high notes on “I UUUUUSED TO KNOW!” manages to pierce through the noise and active ignorance when they play it every hour.
AND THEY PLAY IT EVERY FUCKING HOUR WITHOUT FAIL WALLY!
It’s like Chinese water torture, only the “drips” are your voice, and they occur randomly every 60 minutes instead of randomly every few minutes. In a way I wish they had been playing it every few minutes, because at least that way I know the UN would have passed a resolution to end it, and Fearne Cotton would probably be standing trial in the Hague for crimes against humanity. But by playing it every hour it’s taken 6 weeks for me to reach the point where I know when I go into work on Tuesday – and I hear them playing that bloody song one more time – I’m going to start killing kittens.
Now I know you’ve been trying to ween them off this song – I love “Bronte” (and the video is stunning), and I know you’ve tried to push several other songs off the album out as singles. But they just keep coming back to “Somebody That I Used To Know”, don’t they?
I’ve thought about the solutions to all of this though. My workplace could change radio stations… if there was another radio station in the UK that wasn’t playing this song on loop. I could listen to my own music through headphones, or we could turn the radio off. But deep down inside I know there’s a risk someone in the future is going to put it on at a party as a joke to see how quickly others try to turn it off – and I’ll be forced to drown them in a bowl of fruit punch. I don’t want to do it Wally, but I know I can… and that I will. I don’t want to take a life Wally… I don’t want to wind up like the kid from “We Need To Talk About Kevin”, all because the rest of the world has decided to go batshit crazy for just one of your songs and can’t appreciate the wider range of the album.
So now we find ourselves in an impossible situation – you, with an internationally acclaimed single that is still getting heavy airplay 9 months since it was first released. And me, teetering on the edge of walking into a pet shop with a flame-thrower. So I put this to you Wally:
- You’ve already won 5 ARIA awards.
- You’ve already beaten Silverchair by simultaneously holding the top single AND album on the ARIA charts.
- You’ve already effectively ruined this year’s Triple J’s Hottest 100 double cd release for me, before I’ve even bought it. This is a compilation series I hold so dearly, I’ve physically bought it without fail every year since 1996… And you’ve ruined it.
Please, in the interests of global feline health, I implore you – issue a global press release before Tuesday morning saying that as much as you’re proud of the success of “Somebody That I used To Know”, you’ve tragically discovered every time it’s played a garden gnomes dies. Or that it gives listeners gallstones. Or some other shit that will stop people playing it – I don’t care, just please make it stop. Hell, tell them you’re being emotionally blackmailed by an unstable Australian comic who might have Multiple-Personality Disorder: I don’t mind being the bad guy here.
But swear to Almighty Space Goat – if I hear that song again at work on Tuesday morning, the ash cloud of burning cat hair is going to block out the sun.