Even Gotye can’t resist checking out the hundreds of YouTube fan remakes of his inescapable hit “Somebody That I Used to Know.” And while some artists might get a bit miffed about the quality of some of the bedroom recreations of their breakthrough tune, not Gotye.
In fact, the singer, who is nominated for Video of the Year at the upcoming 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, was so inspired by his fans’ devotion that he put together a head-spinning supercut video that features more than 120 of his favorite takes on the song.
“Reluctant as I was to add to the mountain of interpretations of ’Somebody That I Used to Know’ out there online, I couldn’t resist the massive remixability that such a large, varied yet connected bundle of source material offered,” he wrote, explaining the impetus for the project he calls “Somebodies: A YouTube Orchestra.”
“All audio and video in ’Somebodies’ is from the YouTube user videos featured, each of them a cover or parody of ’Somebody That I Used to Know,'” he explained. “No extra sounds were added to the mix.” He even posted a very helpful list of every single clip used in the project on his blog, with links to each individual video.
The result is nearly six minutes of homespun goodness featuring everything from instructional fingerpicking videos to children’s and adult choirs and versions played on bouzouki, saxophone, banjo, harp, keyboard, empty soda bottles, electric guitars and vocal versions that range form a cappella to beatboxing. Singer Ingrid Michaelson’s Internet-famous video of her one-woman band cover also makes a number of cameos throughout the project.
There is also a constellation of video spoofs, starring everyone from body-painted Darth Vader to President Obama, the Muppets, Lego characters and dogs, as well as an original cartoon re-creation. The runaway star, though, is humble, bearded instructional guitar teacher Barry Harrell, who opens the montage with some kind and gentle inspirational words and pops up throughout to give words of encouragement. At press time the “Somebodies” video had garnered more than 1.1 million views since its posting on Sunday.