What does Somebody That I Used to Know mean?

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Gotye: Somebody That I Used to Know Meaning

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Somebody That I Used to Know Lyrics

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


  1. anonymous
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    Apr 19th 2012 report

    Gotye is getting over a break up, and obsessing over the fact that his ex no longer talks to him. Kimbra is his new girlfriend, who is upset that he's so obsessed with his ex (he's still "caught up with somebody that he used to know, the ex he's singing about).

  2. anonymous
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    Apr 18th 2012 report

    He was in a relationship that he was forcing himself to make work, while all the time he was still in love with an ex. He tried to play the break up off as being a mutual decision, but it's a lie. Even though he knows the truth is that his heart still belongs to another, he makes the most recent ex feel like it was her fault that he was so separated from the relationship. She finally realizes his secret, and leaves him abruptly...severing all ties with him. He is bitter that his secret is found out and tries to make out like his recent ex is nothing but somebody he used to know.

  3. anonymous
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    Apr 17th 2012 report

    This song is about a couple who broke up and is first told from the man's perspective, then from the woman's. The relationship seemed right at first for the man, but then he became "lonely" in her company, and was glad when it was over. The woman tells the man that they can still be friends, but then instead of coming over to pick up her belongings herself, she has her friends do it. He obviously tries to call her and she has changed her number. Now he becomes upset because he realizes the finality of this relationship, and that she has completely cut him out of her life. He is lamenting this situation, and comes to the realization that the woman is now merely "sombody that I used to know". His ego is bruised. When the woman tells her side of the story, she has a different version. Obviously, he was unfaithful in some fashion during their relationship, and feels that she was screwed over many times by him. (He had evidently been in a previous relationship and told her that he could let it go, but he couldn't.) She would question him and read into what he told her. Also, he would make her feel that things were always her fault and their problems were because of something that she had done. She is glad that the relationship is over and doesn't want to "live that way", and wants absolutely nothing else to do with him.

  4. anonymous
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    Apr 13th 2012 report

    I have a diffrent twist on the song. I think it is about a man who broke up with someone he was in an unhealthy relationship with. Even though he was happy it ended he is obsessed with the fact that his ex has cut him out of her life. He is "addicted" to the saddness. He now has a new love, but he is treating her like crap because he is still obessed with his ex. She sings "You said that you could let it go, and I wouldn't catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know." She sings to him with the things he is doing to her and he just looks forward and keeps singing about the ex. She finally sees he is not going to let go of his obession. So she also walks away and becomes someone he used to know.

  5. anonymous
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    Apr 9th 2012 report

    It's a story of a relationship that had a lot of emotion between the pair of them. There was definitely love and caring, but their personalities conflicted. So much so, that he felt lonely when he was with her. Possibly a reason for him seeking company of other girls "he used to know" before her.

    The sadness he feels is the combination of all the conflicting feelings. He loves this girl, but can't get along with her. I picture them fighting most of the time, making up, and then repeating the process. The up and down of emotions can become like an addiction. When it's bad, you crave the good, and when it's good, you can't get enough. Finally, enough is enough, and they part ways with a promise to remain friends.

    The chorus shows that the girl for whatever reason didn't want to be friends anymore.I can only speculate that it hurt too much and brought back too many memories, but the question as to why isn't directly answered. He shows that he is tired of how he's been treated, and that he doesn't need her anymore.

    The girl chimes in with her side of the story. The way she was always blamed for things that he did; that his actions were directly her fault. She started picking apart anything he said to her to find alternate meanings out of mistrust. He also cheated on her at least once.

    The last part is when, despite the girl's side of the story, he is still upset that she cut him off and disappeared from his life in a blink of an eye, like it meant nothing to her. So now he is cutting her out of his life for good. Putting her in the category of people he used to know. He washes her from his memory as the paint coming off her at the end of the video symbolizes her leaving his picture.

  6. anonymous
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    Apr 9th 2012 report

    The first verse is about a man who just broke up with his girlfriend, and he is reminiscing in all of the good times. Then, in the second part of the first verse, he describes all of the bad things his ex has done and how he felt when she pretended nothing was between them.
    In the second verse, the female is describing "all the times you screwed me over", meaning that he had done some things wrong also. But when she says,
    "But I don't want to live that way
    Reading into every word you say"
    she is trying to explain that she is sorry for what she's done, and that she still wants to be close to him. But when the guy sings the verse (as seen in the music video), telling her that she's just somebody that he used to know, she backs off and they remain separate.

  7. anonymous
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    Apr 5th 2012 report

    The beauty of the song lies not just in its wonderful lyrics and melody, but in the symbolism of the video. They are naked, stripped of all pretense, as lovers invariably become; stripped, in fact, of their defenses.

    As the relationship develops, the fractures you see in paint, on the walls and his body, begin to develop. But they aren’t just fractures, but also shattered glass – the mirror with which he sees himself, and the prism through which he views her.

    When her visage comes alive, voicing her grievances, watch how she rolls her shoulders to steel herself for the confrontation, and how his shoulders shrink from the pain. Like him, she too is painted to reflect the fractures in their relationship and in themselves.

    And once they have voiced their reasons for leaving, she returns to her corner, the schisms leaving her body because he no longer sees her through the shattered illusions of the relationship. She has now become “just somebody that [he] used to know.” Meanwhile, the paint on him remains fractured, even as hers retreats, because she still views him that way. It is she who holds the grudge.

    But all of it is his daydream: She left him and changed her number. They have no contacts. There is no reconciliation of grievances. Has he really let her go?

  8. anonymous
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    Mar 27th 2012 report

    He's bitter because she pulled away, he got fed up and broke it off. Then the girl comes out with the real truth....he's a control freak and a total jerk because of her comment "all the times you screwed me over." Not to mention her getting her stuff back via her friends. And he's trying to convince her that he doesn't want anything to do with her when in fact he loves her and doesn't want it to end.

  9. anonymous
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    Mar 26th 2012 report

    she breaks up with him
    he loved her but only because he had made it in his mind and she wasnt as perfect as he first thought and when they break up he feels broken and tries hard to fix it but she totally cuts him off and hides behind her friends leaving him hurt and feeling as if he never knew her and her part is saying that if he hates her so much why would she ever want him getting hung up on her

  10. anonymous
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    Mar 24th 2012 report

    I think he let his guard down. he's naked in the beginning. As their two worlds came together they became a bond like paint. Addicted to each other. He thought he would never lose her.the way they have her open her mouth while singing seems like it portrays all lies coming out her mouth..I think she lead him on saying that he wud be the only one ever.. the paint going away was every moment she erased..want to give the guy a hug.. ha awesome song anymore good videos songs? gerrshow20@gmail..

  11. anonymous
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    Mar 22nd 2012 report

    The man in this song is reflecting on a relationship he once had with a woman. The relationship had a mutual ending, but he was hurt by it (referring to the ache in his heart). What he is really hurt about, is that the woman completely cut him out of her life instead of remaining friends as she said they would. He evidently thought it was a casual breakup, but the woman is bitter because she felt that he had screwed her over during the relationship, and made her feel like things were always her fault. She reminds him that he said he "could let it go". The intensity of his words reveals that the relationship meant more to him than he was willing to admit.

  12. anonymous
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    Mar 18th 2012 report

    In the beginning we hear just his story.
    the hurt SHE caused. how she was the one messing up. she's a stranger to him.


    Her verse brings a little light to the situation. His betrayal to her. "hung up on somebody you used to know". Which I read as cheating, or what have you...so in the end it was a blame game and both had their hand in the process.

  13. anonymous
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    Mar 12th 2012 report

    I think his ego is dented..nobody wants to feel that you were nothing in a relationship..you still want your ex to acknowledge you even if you don't want them.. Human nature :))

  14. anonymous
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    Mar 10th 2012 report

    Him and her broke up and they said they'd still be friends, only to find that she changed her number and everything, so she'd just cut him out. He's upset.

  15. anonymous
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    Mar 6th 2012 report

    She broke up with him, and even though he admits he didn't love her (enough), he's upset she cut him out of her life so completely. As a listener, we are now feeling bad for the guy.

    She replies that this is unfair: she tried to make the relationship work, thinking she was to blame for the things that went wrong, but realized (maybe even only after the break-up) that the reason they didn't work out wasn't her, but his old girlfriend: "You said that (...) I wouldn't catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know." I.e.: his previous girlfriend. We get a different view here: he was still mooning over someone else when he got together with the girl singing here. This is why it didn't work out and why she got so bitter.

    The song shows how we often mess up our current relationships because we can't let go of the people "we used to know". It's about how hard it is to let go of anyone you were in a relationship with. Do you cut them out of your life? Does it ever really work? And do we ever really know how our partners feel about their exes?

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