I've been making some pretty bad decisions in my musical choices lately. The most recent: Gotye's Making Mirrors. Aside from the fantastic gem that is Somebody That I Used To Know, and the couple songs before it in the tracklist, the album quickly devolves into a "Peter Gabriel and Sting aren't so much influences as they are direct sources" fare.
Where the aforementioned track has similar tones and production senses as a classic Sting track might, the rest of the album really just sounds like a poor man's rip off of those same artists to which Gotye seems to be paying homage. The album's musical stylings range from the catchy, folksie flares of Somebody, to generic ska/reggae found in State Of The Art (like Peter Gabriel if he ever thought he were good at Reggae in the 80s).
I think only a handful of artists can really pull off a good multi-genre pop album, but unfortunately Gotye isn't there (yet). I listen to this album and just don't get any real soul from it (save for Somebody, of course). It just felt like the writing and composition was rushed and half-assed.
So, alternatives? David Bowie, The Police or Peter Gabriel, obviously. Honestly I can't seem to find another modern artist (modern as in the last decade) that has really knocked one out of the park while spanning multiple styles and sounds. Every album that i've ever heard and thoroughly enjoyed has maintained some sense of cohesion-- be it in the lyrics, story, or genre. The closest thing I can think of to what Gotye was trying to attempt in spanning genres was maybe Ben Harper's Diamonds On The Inside, and even then, Harper kept his music within several close-knit genres (country, blues, funk). Gotye, on the other hand, seemed to list what genres he wanted on his album (all of them!!), then wrote lyrics to fit-- it just feels uninspired (except for the time that he wrote a song after an apparently bad break-up).
All in all, I would regret having paid for Making Mirrors, had I spent more than $7 on it. Also, if it weren't for Somebody That I Used To Know, I probably would never have looked up Kimbra, who is amazing.