Gotye

After all, both Foster and Gotye have found the sweet spot between highbrow and pabulum…between art and artifice…between Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys (whose 50th Anniversary Tour will succeed the same way NASCAR or Mixed Martial Arts has — by fans waiting for the crash). I am forever apologizing for obscuring the obvious to those who know and for revealing it to those who don’t, but assuming you don’t know (and I feel sorry for you codgers), Gotye is the musical brainchild of (Bruges, Belgium, to Melbourne, Australia, transplant) Wouder “Wally” De Backer, who has blown up planet-wide on the 16 million YouTube views strength of his infectious pop hit, "Somebody That I Used To Know," which has gone on to top the U.K. charts twice since I started this blog a few weeks ago.

When my Philly peeps told me that Gotye had sold out the venerable Tower Theater there — affording me cred as some sort of musical soothsayer or oracle (not that I’m not those things, mind you) for predicting this phenomenon six months ago — I was chagrined. "Don’t any of you people listen to Sirius XM or KCRW, or check the haps at http://www.thecoolhunter.net/?" I asked. The Tower Philly is the largest venue he has played thus far, and it’s no wonder he was so well received there. Like that city’s legendary homeboy Todd Rundgren, Gotye plays every instrument, has pop sensibilities only equaled by his production chops — and both are informed (like Todd‘s was/is) by The Beatles — not too shabby. The hit, "Somebody That I Used To Know" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY) is classic "call back" (dunno why it reminds me of Carly Simon’s 1974 "Mockingbird" duet with then-husband James Taylor, but it does), with New Zealand pop star Kimbra providing the female perspective on the "he said/she said" tale of post-breakup emotional apocalypse. You know when something is not merely huge, not merely humongously huge, but gargantuan stupid huge? It is when before your hit has become a hit, another up-and-comer is having a bigger hit with your hit. I kid you not! Canada’s Walk Off The Earth has 65 million YouTube views for their cover of Gotye’s "Somebody I Used To Know" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9NF2edxy-M). That’s 15 million more views than Lady Gaga has for her latest, "Marry The Night." What’s more — THEIR COVER has been covered and parodied by Key of Awesome, and that video has 2.5 million views. Again, in case you blinked: The parody of the cover of the current hit — is a hit. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwPHy17Iu6E. And their "thank you to the fans" YouTube video also has 2.5 million views.

The metrics of what it takes to create buzz are both arbitrary and specific and in defiance of all convention (including the Geneva Convention) as it pertains to what the dying record industry thinks it’s doing. No amount of payola and DJ cocaine, no amount of airplay can match the Arab Spring nature of an organic movement that propels content through the roof of pop culture before bean-counters and pundits and journalists and talking heads have had their taste, let alone regurgitated analysis or review. This knife cuts both ways. The clear evidence of that is the buzz vs. anti-buzz that has the movie studios second-guessing how to lay scaffold around their summer blockbuster tent poles. The idiots at Disney, for example, were so smart (code for "dumb"), they removed the word "Mars" from the Edgar Rice Burroughs-created John Carter title because they skried — movies with "Mars" in the title always bomb. And $250 million later, anyone under the age of Xbox (and that’s everybody who might actually have read the ERB novels as a kid and actually gives a f**k) is clueless that the movie is actually based on the John Carter of Mars books, leaving potential fans underwhelmed. Since nothing is a secret anymore, the hand-wringing and pink slip rumors mill are working overtime, a week before the movie actually opens. Music is different. Music is like sex. It’s quick but doesn’t get old when you hit the Repeat button, so its enjoyment can be unlimited. Movies take a long time to make, and a relatively long time to watch. In an age of condensed attention span, the physics of what has made Gotye and the covers of his hit song a worldwide success phenomena — also condemn the new John Carter movie to having zero chance of finding daylight.

Writing songs (and, to be fair, writing screenplays) is still and always inspiration-based. To wax cynical, there are only 12 notes in Western music. With recording being simpler and cheaper than ever (even sophisticated orchestration and sound design is clickable) and getting content out easier still (via Soundcloud to broadcast ideas, YouTube to show them off), the shackles and the necessity of needing the old major record deal and airplay and publicist (still don’t know what they really do for that monthly gob) have been vitiated. "There is no try, there is only do," Yoda sagely told Luke on Dagoba. Welcome to the future, where we can all be artistic, creative Jedi…the stars of our own epic.

P.S.: Gotye’s Apr. 12 S.F. appearance at The Independent is already SOLD OUT, just like every other show on his debut tour.

What’s Up

Speaking of movies, the timeless Ridley Scott has gone all anti-anti-buzz (meaning, he has created buzz) with yesterday’s viral unspooling of a faux TED 2023 lecture three-minute jewel that speaks to all fan boys (me, too!) dying for any new molecule of information on this June’s Alien prequel, Prometheus. Here is the link: http://blog.ted.com/TED2023/ If this doesn’t give you goosebumps, you’re not a fan, or you’re not breathin’. If, on the other hand, I made your day, you’ll need this link as well: https://www.weylandindustries.com/

With all the wonderfulness going on in music, it’s difficult to keep things in focus, but it is not out of lack of gushing that I failed to recommend Matthew Dear’s new Headcage EP

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