On its surface, Somebody that I Used to Know isn't anything especially profound. The lyrics tell a story of heartbreak and rejection, turning a romantic partner into "just somebody that I used to know". What makes the song so spectacular is how dramatic the vocal duet comes across.
2 entire verses are sung in a lower vocal register with little more than some simple percussion and the signature xylophone that makes the song so recognizable. It becomes even more recognizable when you realize how similar the melody on the xylophone is to the melody of a nursery rhyme like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.
Then the chorus comes in and carpool sing alongs would never be the same. When multiple harmonies start layering underneath and over the top of the soaring melody line it's hard to pick out every part that is entering and dismissing itself by either walking up or down the scale.
Somebody that I Used to Know is as catchy as it is spiteful.
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