The Quest | The Free Press of Reed College

The Sound Attendance: Waiting for Gotye

Gotye: Making Mirrors Album Tour: Universal Republic Records [SHOWBIZ POP]

For Fans of: Mika, Miley Cyrus, Florence + the Machine

Though I made a hefty pilgrimage to the Gotye concert at Edgefield Ampitheatre in Troutdale on a loaded, bouncing Trimet bus that wafted KFC odors into the night sky, I clumsily missed the prescribed date. Luckily, the utter embarrassment of the mistake soon gave way to some meaty, deeper thoughts about why I had made the effort to go in the first place, if I really expected Gotye to have any other songs besides “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and what the positive valence of a one-hit wonder really is.

“Somebody That I Used to Know” is no doubt the singular reason why the unshorn, self described musical “tinkerer” Gotye (derived from the French form of Wally, “Gauthier,” from his real name, Wouter) scored an enormous tour with stops at some of the largest international venues. His other songs add up to a well-produced but stylistically non-decisive body of work, including his latest Aussie album, Making Mirrors. Like the recipe-book the album is, every song sounds like a helping of a different, themed American Idol episode where the singer tests their voice with a different genre. It seems he’s not eager to decide who he wants to be as an artist, perhaps for the reason that he hasn’t figured out how exactly why “Somebody That I Used to Know,” (I’ll call it STUTK) got so big.

Waiting for One Hit 

Anyone that actually attended the Sunday concert probably had to admit to themselves pretty early on that they were only going there to see STUTK performed, and for the light show. For these people, and other souls with similar intent elsewhere, perfect timing is crucial; because honestly, who knows if the band will shove the crowd-pleaser out of the way at the very beginning or leave you hanging until the end, when they know everyone’s starting to bite their nails?

But even if a concert-goer like myself does miss the hit song, or the act completely, somehow it doesn’t seem all that disappointing. I think it’s become a modern-day reflex to accept that the present coveted pop treasures will soon fade like fairy dust into the celestial void. And perhaps the one-hit wonder can be seen as a happily absurdist phenomenon that we’re constantly waiting to unveil, but that always alludes, or is replaced by a similar ghost.

And though I doubt I will get the chance to see the floppy Aussie performer glow with as much aspiration and energy as he probably is on this tour, I’m not betting against him. Nor am I ruling out going to a reunion tour somewhere down the line to see him muster a laudable reworking of STUTK. I have a feeling it will be marked by an unchanged, but not unwelcome, feeling of pop indulgence.

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