Gotye Lyrics Get a Dose of Feminism

Gotye Lyrics Get a Dose of Feminism

Maybe it’s just us, but don’t the lyrics to Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye seem a little… passive aggressive?

I’d seen the video for Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” posted on facebook and read people’s statuses declaring it to be amazing and such a work of art in line with Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer video. I will admit that the video is visually pretty cool but what I take issue with is the actual lyrics. On first listen it came across as a guy who’s been a bit hurt by a breakup and she’s denying his very existence. Then I listened again.

[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

I’m not sure about anyone else but love, for me, is never described as an ache (unless it’s the rather over-dramatic declaration that I love him so much my heart aches when we are apart) and I never feel lonely in their company. If you have to remind yourself that the person you are with is the right person for you then, chances are, they really aren’t and the relationship is doomed.

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

See, doomed. You had resigned yourself to just being in the relationship because you were used to it and you admit relief when one of you admitted that, actually, it wasn’t working. She made the classic break-up statement of being able to remain friends. Now, for me, unless an ex was a friend prior to the relationship then this is always just a way of letting someone down gently since you have no real intention of actually maintaining a friendship.

But you didn’t have to cut me off

Wait, what? You didn’t really want to be with this girl, you were martyring your way through a relationship with her but suddenly you are surprised that she doesn’t want to talk to you!

Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing

I’ll admit it’s a bit harsh to deny the relationship ever happened but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, I’m sure she has her reasons.

And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough

Seriously? You’re throwing a strop but still somehow declaring that it’s not like you really want to be with her anyway. Isn’t that a bit like when someone says “fine, don’t tell me your secret” when really they’re desperate to know?

No you didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number

Maybe she thought you were a bit suspect and felt safer and more able to move on with her life if she didn’t have to face you to collect her belongings and you had no way to contact her.

I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know

And we’re back to the reverse-psychology. Well, it’s not like you need her number cos she’s just somebody from your past.

[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

These lines concern me. He’s acted like a douche yet makes her believe it was her fault. This to me screams of psychological abuse. Maybe this is why she’s changed her number and doesn’t want to see him? I think so.

But I don’t wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say

Quite right, too! Get some confidence and decide that you really are better off without him. If only more women could stand up to their abusers.

You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know

“I’ll change!” Again, classic abuser language. I haven’t decided if the last line is hinting that whilst in the relationship he was pining over a previous ex or whether he had made a declaration along the lines of “don’t expect me to be here if you come crawling back”, but in line with the rest of my interpretation I’m plumping for the latter.

There are various interpretations online, mostly viewing it as a way of saying you don’t really know what you’ve got til it’s gone and that she was very harsh in just totally cutting him out of her life.

Either way, ending a relationship when you know it’s not working is a tough decision. It’s even harder if that relationship is with someone who has knocked your confidence and makes you feel like their mistakes are your fault. Remember, not all domestic abuse is physical. If you are a victim of any type of abuse it’s important that you recognise it, tell someone and get out.

This is an excellent list which highlights some abusive behaviours. Get help and information from any of the women’s charities; Women’s Aid and Refuge are just two UK based charities who can provide counselling, safe accommodation and help towards rebuilding your life.

Somebody That I Used To Know [+Video]


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