So, I promised a track-by-track review of Gotye's newest release "Making Mirrors." (Next week, I'm doing a track-by-track review of Neon Trees new album "Picture Show.")
1. Making Mirrors. This is the title track and begins with a slow instrumental introduction, with the vocals fading in. Beautiful, goose-bump inducing song. Gotye whispers, almost murmurs his way through the 1:01 song, which makes you listen a little closer.
2. Easy Way Out. I've talked about this track before, but I should discuss it again. It is still one of my favorite songs off the album. Gotye is known for heavily sampling songs, and he obviously chose "Daytripper" by The Beatles, which I approve of, as I love that song. What do I love? The various instruments in the background, the base line, and the airy sounding vocals. I'm not "looking for an easy way out" of this song.
3. Somebody That I Used to Know. Chances are you've heard this one before. In fact, if you're anything like me, you cannot escape from it. Believe me, it's a good song; their voices (Gotye and Kimbra) fit together like puzzle pieces, much like The Civil Wars. It's just overplayed and I like it, but it's not my favorite on the album. Anyways, the song samples "Seville" by Luiz Bonfa (there's supposed to be an accent there...whoops) and leads in with a catchy xylophone line that will be/already is stuck in your head. Cool track, even cooler music video.
4. Eyes Wide Open. I'm pretty sure I've reviewed this song before,so that just goes to show how much I really love this dude. I've heard some rumors that this song is about a new tax in Australia. Not sure how credible that is.. I like the country-style strings in the background, the pounding drums, and his relatable lyrics. I feel like I understand what he's saying. It's beautiful, really. He's quite the writer and I'm very impressed.
5. Smoke and Mirrors. For some reason, this song, sounds like it should have been on the Dirty Harry soundtrack. It's got that skeezy, bluesy, jazz-infused instrumentation and finger-pointing lyrics: "You're a fraud/And you know it.../it's always been a smoke and mirrors game."
6. I Feel Better. Good track, positive lyrics--in that he sounds happier than he did on Eyes Wide Open--but I don't like the horns at the beginning and I feel like he's kind of yelling; it's a happy yelling, but it's a little like whoa. It's a good song to play if your life is going well-i.e she said yes, you got a job promotion, A on your test, etc.
7. In Your Light. So creative. I love how it starts with just the guitars at the beginning and all the other instruments just trickle in. It's got a nice beat, kicking horn section, and fantastic vocals. His odd, beautiful, strong voice projects perfectly over the music. Also, the romantic lyrics are worth mentioning: "When I'm in your light/all of this is clear/just when I'm in your light/and I won't be alright if you take that light away."
8. State of the Art. One of his first songs that I fell madly in love with. I know I've talked about this one before...I had no idea how many of his songs I had already discussed. On YouTube, you can watch a mini-documentary where Gotye talks about how he made this album and more specifically, this song. It's amazing, actually. The song is about this super-cool organ he has, which, more power to him, considering most main stream artists just write about alcohol and da club. Anyways, he sampled this old jazz track and then sped it up. Very creative. For the vocals, he recorded them in a monotone-talking voice, lowered the vocals, and gave it that almost frightening, menacing, machine-like sound quality. Job well done.
9. Don't Worry We'll Be Watching You. The song leads in with whispered vocals, a simple drum beat, a little harmony, and eventually some strings. It has a mythical, fairy-tale, story-like sound to it. Honestly, it reminds me of Bon Iver a little bit, except that there's a little more variation throughout the song. My favorite part is around 1:20 when his voice gets louder and he sounds a lot like Paul Meany, the lead singer of MuteMath. In fact, this song reminds me of MM's second album Armistice.
10. Giving Me A Chance. To be honest, this is my first time ever listening to the track. So, this is completely unbiased. I approve of the synthesizers, minor key tonality, and the keyboard line. The lyrics are sad, but honest: "I get a little wrapped up in myself.../I know I let you down." Gotye's vocals are about an octave lower than usual which is a beautiful change.
11. Save Me. Don't shoot me, but the vocals at the beginning remind me of the intro to "Friday" by Rebecca Black. Ugh, horrible, right? Still, this song is amazing. One of my favorites off the album, i think. What do I love? Everything. To be more specific, I like the long notes with the faint vibrato he produces, the chorus in the background, the complex drum pattern, and his falsetto. I melt for a falsetto.
12. Bronte. Before this post, I listened to this song once, so, it's nearly as unbiased as Giving Me a Chance. It's much slower than his other tracks, so that's nice. Variety is the spice of life, or an album, in this case. This song reminds me of something very Lana Del Rey-esque, very 1960's, mixed with a slow dance song. It's breathtaking, truly. You can feel the emotion he feels. "We will be with you/when you go." Somehow, I think that line is his way of closing the album. And his promise holds true, all of his songs (the we in the lyrics) will stay with you for pretty much forever.
Conclusion: Incredible album. People will be like "Eh, he's okay for a new artist, but nothing special." In actuality, he has been around for ten years, this is his third album. Additionally, he wrote and recorded his own album in his parents' barn. Pretty impressive, I think. This guy is going up and I think he has an even brighter future coming his way. Buy his albums, go see him in concert, and comment about your opinion on Gotye.
Until next week,