Poetry Analysis

Somebody That I Used To Know

Lyrics

[Gotye:]

Now and then I think of when we were together

Like when you said you felt so happy you could die

Told myself that you were right for me

But felt so lonely in your company

But that was love and it's an ache I still remember


You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness

Like resignation to the end, always the end

So when we found that we could not make sense

Well you said that we would still be friends

But I'll admit that I was glad it was over


But you didn't have to cut me off

Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing

And I don't even need your love

But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough

No you didn't have to stoop so low

Have your friends collect your records and then change your number

I guess that I don't need that though

Now you're just somebody that I used to know


Now you're just somebody that I used to know

Now you're just somebody that I used to know


[Kimbra:]

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over

But had me believing it was always something that I'd done

But I don't wanna live that way

Reading into every word you say

You said that you could let it go

And I wouldn't catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know


[Gotye:]

But you didn't have to cut me off

Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing

And I don't even need your love

But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough

No you didn't have to stoop so low

Have your friends collect your records and then change your number

I guess that I don't need that though

Now you're just somebody that I used to know


[x2]

Somebody

(I used to know)

Somebody

(Now you're just somebody that I used to know)


(I used to know)

(That I used to know)

(I used to know)

Somebody


Video Clip

Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra) - official video

Analysis

Somebody That I Used To Know is a song written and recorded by the Belgian-Australian artist Gotye, featuring vocals from New Zealand artist Kimbra. The song reached number one in the states in 2012, making it the first Australian song to do so since Savage Garden with Truly Madly Deeply, back in 2000. The song is about an ex-lover, who, despite once being a huge factor in your life, is no longer a part of it.


Gotye himself has said that the song is “definitely drawn from various experiences I've had in relationships breaking up, and in the parts of the more reflective parts of the song, in the aftermath and the memory of those different relationships and what they were and how they broke up and what's going on in everyone's minds.”


This song uses a range of themes, as illustrated early on in the song. It includes feelings of both melancholy and anger, combined with a sort of bittersweet nostalgia. There are also traces of regret included in the lyrics - not regret about ending the relationship, but regret towards what happened after the couple broke up, and perhaps regret relating to what Gotye felt during the relationship.


From the very first paragraph, two of these feelings are already introduced - the feels of melancholy and bittersweet nostalgia. This is highlighted particularly in the lines “Told myself that you were right for me, but felt so lonely in your company, but that was love and it's an ache I still remember.” The lyrics indicate that the singer tried to force himself to be happy in the relationship, despite being lonely. However, he looks back on the relationship somewhat fondly, due to it being “love” - even if he feels negatively about it as well. He also using rhyming techniques in the first paragraph with “together” and “remember”, as well as “me” and “company.”


The singer then moves on to the second half of the first verse, and he is now more easy when introducing his true feelings toward the relationship, as seen in the lyrics: “So when we found that we could not make sense, well you said that we would still be friends, but I'll admit that I was glad it was over.” The artist admits to feeling glad about the end of the relationship, however, he also seems happy in the knowledge that the pair will continue to be friends. In the line “Like resignation to the end, always the end”, the artist uses identical inner rhymes - the word ‘end.’ He also uses imperfect rhyme with the words “friend” and “sense.”


The song then goes to the chorus. This is when the tone of anger truly starts to seep in, as it is made clear the artist is angry about where he currently stands with his ex. He also seems rather sad about the fact that the he is no longer close with his former lover, as they are now just “somebody that he used to know.” Although these feelings are highlighted throughout most of the chorus, it is perhaps most prominent in the lines “And I don't even need your love, but you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough.” The main idea of the song, however, is illustrated in the final two lines of the song: “I guess that I don't need that though, now you're just somebody that I used to know.” The chorus uses several types of rhyming techniques. The first example of this is the use of the eye rhyme with the words “rough” and “though.” He uses end rhymes with the words “low” and “know” - both of which also rhyme with the word “though”, even if the final letters are not the same. Repetition is then used with the line “Now you're just somebody that I used to know.” This line is repeated several times before we head over to Kimbra’s verse.


Kimbra, who is supposedly portraying the ex-lover that Gotye sings about, appears to have a very different side to the story. According to her, she had a much more negative view on the relationship, and appeared to want to distance herself from her ex once they broke up. It is also mentioned that he told her he wouldn’t be upset over her being somebody that I used to know, despite what the song actually suggests. This gives us a very different perspective on the relationship, as well as a more in depth view into what could have possibly in the relationship. Again, end rhymes are used, with the words “way” and “say”, as well as the words “go” and “know.”


The song then cuts back to the chorus, with Gotye repeating his previously expressed feelings, contrasting with Kimbra’s verse. To finish the song off, the most common lines of the chorus are repeated. This ends the song with the feelings of bittersweet nostalgia, anger and melancholy, tying everything back to the original idea of the song.