Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Gotye – Easy Way Out

Don’t let the picture fool you, Kimbra’s not in this one…


Sally O’Rourke: It makes sense that “Easy Way Out” is sequenced before “Somebody That I Used to Know” on Making Mirrors; the two songs are a before-and-after of the same broken relationship. In “Easy Way Out,”Gotye is freshly dumped but burying his emotions under tough-guy fuzz guitar riffage, refusing to accept he’s anything but over it. Still, Gotye’s self-aware enough to notice something’s eating at him from the inside, even if he dismisses it as just “some feelings [that] have a manner of persisting.” It’s only a matter of time, though, before he drops the act and confronts the pain of the break-up, when he’ll recognize that those nagging emotions are, in fact, an addiction to a certain kind of sadness.

Iain Mew: I love Making Mirrors and all of its weird genre diversions — “State of the Art” is particularly amazing. The hollowed out glam of “Easy Way Out” is more effective as a (comparatively) gentle introduction than a standalone, though. The best moment is the abrupt vwhooosh power down at its end, at which point my mind now automatically fills in the opening notes from “Somebody That I Used To Know”. Which probably says it all.

Jonathan Bogart: Anyone would have trouble following up “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and maybe it’s noble of Gotye that he doesn’t even try, just plugs forward with his usual dry loops and painstakingly hushed vocals. Or maybe I’m just coming down off the high of the video, which is far more neon and vibrant than anything in the audio track.

Katherine St Asaph: Mutter-murmured male vocals over goosebump synths, drum clatter and what’s awfully close to a surf guitar riff. Gotye might as well be baiting me; this would probably be a [10] if it only kept going. 

Brad Shoup: Under two minutes! This song advances other pleasures, but hearing them all communicated in fewer than 120 seconds is not unlike witnessing a magic act. We’ve got the “Day Tripper” vocal nick — which, paired with the Dust Brothers/Beck riff, takes on a REO Speedwagon/Steve Miller hue. Speaking of the Dust Brothers, the sprinkling of Buddy Merrill’s “Echoette” is itself a Beckenzian touch. At twice the length, all these touches might wear as thin as their deployment (except for one: where Gotye wraps the line “seventeen seconds and I’m over it” at the :17 mark). At this speed, all one can do is enjoy the show.

Edward Okulicz: “Easy Way Out” is awash with charm, but it certainly helps to have already surrendered to his voice on other singles first, which is why I find this odd as an instrument of entryism. That said, its two minutes of “Satisfaction”-aping riffs and “Day Tripper” echoes are clever enough for hipsters, brisk enough for a discerning dancefloor, and sufficiently different from Sting vocally to be a good use of your time.

Hazel Robinson: This has a louche approach to suicide that suggests it’s got tired of trying to work Eels into its DJ set and resorted to drastic measures. Novocaine For The Soul! At The Disco is a completely valid tactic and the honking thud of the chorus works as an evocation — I thought I didn’t really like it the first time I heard it but I haven’t actually taken it off repeat for the last 15 minutes and I’ve been mentally revising the score out of ten each time.

10 Responses to “Gotye – Easy Way Out”

  1. Gotye is now 2/2 on Jukebox entries that nick their title from Elliott Smith’s Figure 8.

    For what it’s worth, I hear “Owner of a Lonely Heart” more than “Day Tripper”!

  2. I owe YouTube for the :17 factoid. And now I hear Yes as well. More pastiche magic!

  3. “Owner of a Lonely Heart” is the greatest. It’s currently my ring tone.

  4. Comments on “Somebody That I Used to Know” are closed, so noting here that it is now finally UK #1! And Sia featuring on the #2 record this week as well – not sure when the last time we had two Australians in the top 2 was.

  5. In September 2001 there was Kylie and DJ Ötzi, so that’s one Australian and one Austrian.

  6. If we’re looking for Australians in the top two slots, I’m still looking. If you’ll settle for two Australians somewhere in the top two, then it’s “We No Speak Americano”.

  7. January 1989, Kylie/Jason at 1 and Angry Anderson at 3. I went through everything up to 1960, and I’m not sure it’s ever happened, not counting some sort of charity single loophole. Someone tell me if I missed something.

  8. If you were to go with a loophole then you can have Band Aid II and Jason Donovan http://www.chartstats.com/chart.php?week=19900106 . Otherwise I guess it hasn’t happened ever before.

  9. I am so glad someone actually took on the challenge of working this out!

  10. Thanks for the help, Scott!