With a bassline made with a gigantic musical fence (only in Australia!), Gotye's 'Eyes Wide Open' is arguably more tense than 'Somebody That I Used To Know,' though it lacks quite the same charge as the song that (has almost) made he and Kimbra stars. Nonetheless, 'Eyes Wide Open' is a sincere, exciting cut, not destined to conquer charts, but sure to make its home in more than a few hearts.

At three minutes and 11 seconds, 'Eyes Wide Open' is a short, crisp track. While it could be argued the verses should sound more different than the chorus, that cohesion lends the track an emotional center. The topic here is a relationship, a favorite subject of Gotye's; the approach by multivalent melodies. The nature of the relationship, however, is layered -- between both person and person, as well as people and the planet.

'It's like to stop consuming is to stop being human," he laments. Is this a breakup song, or a subtle protest track? Gotye is un-self-consciously conscious: "While the suns were clear, they had no idea / Just get used to living in fear." Are "they" in fear of government, or of ending a relationship? He sings that we're all in the same boat together, that it could have been avoided. With these suggestions of oncoming catastrophe, regardless of what "it" is, something profound is being lost.

'We walk the plank with our eyes wide open," he sings in the chorus, a nod to the end of a bond, either between two people or between humans and their planet. Gotye has that knee-shaking, swoon-inducing falsetto, the accent on the "dust" that promises to bury those to whom he sings.

The track is simple, direct, a hard swallow of catchy courage delivered via a growing pop icon. Personal, ecological, whatever: This is a new sort of single.

Listen to Gotye's 'Eyes Wide Open'


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