When Kimbra stopped by MTV News last Friday, she told us she never imagined hearing the song on primetime TV shows and seeing it on the charts. The single (off Gotye’s 2011 album, Making Mirrors) was covered by Matt Bomer and Darren Criss on “Glee,” and contestants on both “The Voice” and “American Idol” pinned their music industry dreams on the track.
“I don’t think either of us could have predicted the success of the song,” she said of Gotye (a.k.a. Wally De Backer).
“Used to Know” topped several Billboard charts, including the Alternative and Rock Songs lists, and peaked at #2 on the all-important Hot 100. And over the weekend, the duo performed the track on “Saturday Night Live.”
“I knew it would resonate with people when I heard it,” Kimbra said. “Wally has a really great way of penetrating an emotion. But, you know … ’Glee’ and ’The Voice’ and all of these crazy pieces of exposure … that was really out of our imagination.”
What makes the song stand out on pop radio, which is driven these days by dance loops and producers like Dr. Luke and Max Martin, is that it’s a mid-tempo ballad that pays homage to the kinds of songs that acts like Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and the Police pumped out in the ’80s.
“I think it’s a really exciting time for pop music right now, to see such a reflective, kind of vulnerable song shoot to the top of the charts, I think it’s paving the way for some really exciting artists to come through,” Kimbra said. “And I hope to be one of them, in terms of putting out my record here in the States. I think Wally’s doing something that’s really progressive for the pop world anyway.”
Kimbra’s album, Vows, will be out in the U.S. on May 22.