Feb 072012

Best (So Far) finds the finest first-round covers of the latest pop hits.

Gotye’s über-ctachy breakup jam “Somebody That I Used to Know” first hit the web last summer, but it’s only taken off stateside in the past few months. A small part of that popularity comes from Walk Off the Earth’s stunning viral cover. Lots of other artists have covered the song too, many delivering takes at least almost as memorable.

1. Walk Off the Earth
Let’s start with the obvious, shall we? Nine times out of ten, when a cover goes mega-viral, it’s from a cute kid. Nothing against cute kids, but earnest adorability can grate. Having a performance this good get so huge (47 million views and counting) redeems all of that. And for anyone who thinks this is some trick – they did it live on Ellen.

2. Ingrid Michaelson
A month before Walk Off the Earth got around to the song, Ingrid Michaelson released a YouTube video, creating a stripped-down take of the song and playing all the instruments herself. She sings both parts, which make the lyrics sound like a bipolar person talk to herself in the dark.

3. La Boutique Fantastique
Perhaps the French caught on to Gotye before the Americans, as La Boutique Fantastique performed this instrumental sorta-classical cover on French radio back in the fall. Sax, violin, and guitar pass around the melody lines while the rest create a pleasantly lush backing.

4. Ron Pope
If some of the guys in this video look familiar, it’s because they are in the District, whose great Katy Perry cover we premiered last year. Pope’s delicate delivery on the verses makes the soaring chorus that much more affecting, and Paul Hammer’s breathy croon voice was made for these backup harmonies.

5. Right the Stars
A lot about this video recalls Ron Pope’s, from the wood-paneled studio vibe to the Abercrombie scruffiness of the performers. The Portishead drumming is a nice touch, though, as is the “King of Pain” interlude.

Check out more from Gotye on his website.

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  7 Responses to “The Best Covers of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” (So Far)”

Comments (4) Pingbacks (3)
  1. I like the covers, but let me correct you on La Boutique Fantastique (no. 3). This isn’t a clip from a french radio show, but from a dutch show. The DJ is Giel Beelen and he has these kind of covers regurlarly in his show.

  2. Pentatonix’s version should have been included. That one I like better than the original.. goosebump-inducing. Those voices are haunting.

  3. In reply to sara, I love Pentatonix and that cover but I hate Kirstie’s harmonizing. It tends to be a little off, especially in the chorus.

  4. I usually hate Ingrid Michaelson, but I kinda dig her version

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