Gotye: State of the Art Meaning
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Song Released: 2011
State of the Art Lyrics
When the Cotillion arrived
We threw out the television
Model D 575
Has custom flute presets
And Harmony-Plus in addition
Now for an arm and a leg
We get three half-dozen beats to choose from
So now we can...
anonymous Jul 8th 2012 report
I would say he is emphasizing and lamenting the artificiality of today's music, and how it's still being eaten up like candy, regardless.
All the sounds it creates are nothing but 'exceptional simulations,' and there is very heavy emphasis on the "three half-dozen presets," "harmony plus," and "genie bass" which means not only is there no one actually playing those parts, or likely anyone present even capable of it, but that with only a 18, even the machine's attempted automation of those parts are severely limited, and everything it creates will sound very similar.
Consequently, there is no real musical talent behind any of the music the family is listening to, instead of going out to hear a 'real orchestra.' This, combined with the final message "Incidentally, on the track you just heard, there were no keyboard performances, just the occasional pressing of buttons," really points his saying that there is a dearth of actual musicians, only very advanced computers with their formulas.
And yet, the family is still willing to pay "an arm and a leg" and "[throw] out their television" (the new hearth of the modern home) to make room for it.
Instead of anyone actually singing, the father simply plays the very robotic-sounding "choir" preset. This, combined with the music video, where the family actually becomes the "choir" emphasizes that they have in the end become as artificial as the music they are worshiping as "better than the real thing."
The fact that this song is in fact, almost entirely synthesized creates an intentional, and ironic, sense of hypocrisy, and establishes this as a marked piece of anti-art, the artist becoming the very thing he's protesting to prove his point.
anonymous Jun 13th 2012 report
This song is actually very ironic. He is making fun of the modern obsession with synthesized music, in a song that was purposely made almost exclusively with samples and auto tune. "The simulations end up sounding better than the real thing," basically, it's so easy to use computers to make music that no one "wants to go out," or use actual instruments.
anonymous Mar 29th 2012 report
I think Gotye is making fun of the modern obsession with better and better music playing devices and musical simulations by exposing the exact thoughts underlying it. People want them to impress their neighbors and because they can't be bothered to actually go out and see a band that might not be good (because that would look bad with the friends they drag along to it). The pretentiousness of the people discussed is highlighted by their throwing out the television. And they probably bought an expensive tv too.
Gotye may also be making a broader statement about art today with the title and chorus "State of the Art". It could easily by "high-tech" or something, but by using "state of the art" he is criticizing modern art as well. He is saying "This is the kind of art we have today. Very sophisticated but empty."
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