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Album Review by Tom Beninate
Gotye - Making Mirrors
Summary

This fun-filled album contains the hit song, “Somebody That I Used to Know” which should be a 2012 Grammy nominee. There are four other catchy songs. However, the rest of this record can be classified as run-of-the-mill.

Gotye (aka Wally De Backer) gets credit for writing each song from scratch as opposed to filling out an album based on one or two songs. Although he begins many songs with a hook, he fails to arrange most of these pieces into a more thoughtful and completed work. In this sense this record seems to have been rushed or not fully baked.

When compared to current music, this CD is above average regarding creativity and uniqueness. Gotye’s performance is generally fine except where he simply mumbles the vocals. Perhaps his voice could have been boosted a couple of decibels in that area of the mix or notched up a bit at 5kHz.

I cannot say that Making Mirrors is inspiring, yet the entire record is listenable. Compare that to the typical current CD that might grab your attention during the first song or two but then quickly nosedives into a mess of dull noise.

If you collect music and buy several CDs within a year, then buy this record.

If you don’t like the song, “Somebody That I Used to Know” then simply pass on this album.


Songs

01 Making Mirrors This sixty-one second track serves as the introduction to the CD. It gives you a sense of the type of music that is about to follow. It also indicates that Gotye is thinking about the cohesiveness of this record, though it falls short of a concept album.

02 Easy Way Out is a lively retro cut that actually sounds somewhat familiar.

03 Somebody That I Used To Know is the one hit on this album. The tune sounds fresh as Gotye uses an interesting selection of sounds and samples to create a memorable arrangement. The verses are distinctive and contrast well with the choruses. The lyrics begin with a male (sung by Gotye) venting about a tainted relationship. After the first chorus, the female (sung by Kimbra) responds rather caustically to set the record straight. Finally they combine efforts to finish the song. This approach has been done before in music. However, this is clearly one of the better efforts.

04 Eyes Wide Open A driving kick and snare set the beat on this song. But without a strong melody or hook the song has no legs to stand on. There is a U2 flavor to this one.

05 Smoke And Mirrors This tune is best described as something that sounds familiar or a version of someone else’s song. It’s sleepy and doesn’t go anywhere.

06 I Feel Better is a Motown-influenced retro tune that also sounds familiar. Gotye uses synthesized brass instead of the real stuff that Berry Gordy used in the ‘60s. This is a good song though Gotye seems to struggle singing the higher notes.

07 In Your Light begins with a beat similar to the one in “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. Gotye isn’t able to pull you away from that notion. That’s too bad.

08 State Of The Art This is the second best song on the record. It is an album-oriented tune with a good unique arrangement. The drawback is the lyrics make it seem that you are listening to a commercial.

09 Don’t Worry, We’ll Be Watching You This is an interesting song and a good attempt at integrating technology into the organic core of a song.

10 Giving Me A Chance This is probably the third best song on the album. It has some of the ingredients to be a better tune. This is one where Gotye could have spent more time to get it to the next level.

11 Save Me Where have we heard a chorus similar to this before? On this one, Gotye simply married two riffs and called one a verse and the other a chorus. What you hear is what you get.

12 Bronte The album begins with an intro. You might call this the “outro.” This is the only song that borrows the essential theme to “Somebody That I Used to Know.” From another perspective we might say that he restates the theme. He actually says goodbye to us when he sings, “We will be with you. You will stay with us.” This might be wishful thinking on Gotye’s part. Let’s see what happens on the next record.


Components

Songwriting In the context of 2012, Gotye’s writing is above average. However, when comparable to the last 100 years of pop music it is slightly below average.

Arranging The above comment regarding songwriting would also apply here.

Album Presentation It’s always nice to get a booklet with lyrics when you purchase a CD. The CD, jacket, and booklet all look like they belong to a matched set.

Artwork Frank De Backer did the artwork and handwriting. The album cover has one interesting design concept with three variations. This art is duplicated throughout this package. Perhaps Frank could have minimally come up with more designs. The handwriting is mostly legible – occasionally you’ll have to pause to decipher what he wrote.

Originality Gotye absolutely has a sense of uniqueness yet a few songs sound like something we’ve heard before. Now that’s a strange combination.

Performance There’s nothing outstanding here but generally speaking, the parts are believable and emotion is conveyed.
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Date: July 14, 2012
Artist:Gotye
Album Title: Making Mirrors
Artist's website: www.gotye.com
©2011 Samples ‘N’ Seconds Records Pty Ltd

Rating:
out of 5

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