Belgium artist Stromae, Paul Van Haver, gained fame over the European nations with his single, “Alors on danse” from his album “Cheese.” Since then his newer album “Racine Carrée” has sold more than 1.7 million albums in France and has charted as the number one album in Italy, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and was the #2 in Billboards US World Albums. His singles “Papaoutai,” “Formidable,” and “Tous le mêmes” have reached phenomenal status. Playing at award ceremonies, national football games, and music festivals around the world, Stromae is a household name in the French-speaking world.
Three of his most succesfull songs from his new album are “Papaoutai,” “Tous le mêmes,” and “Formidable.”
1. “Papaoutai” talks of young boy looking for his father. In the music video Stromae adopts the image of a mannequin while a younger version of himself asks where is my father. The young boy gets no answer from the Stromae mannequin. The boy practices dance that has elements of breakdancing. He dances when his father doesn’t move. While his father doesn’t move, the child sees that other children have parents that dance with them or instruct them. The boy continues to argue to his father saying something along the lines of “anyone can make a child but not everyone can make a father.” Eventually the child thinks he and his father are dancing but the child was only dreaming. The child pushes his father into his house and the child turns into a mannequin like his father.
2. In “Tous le mêmes” Stromae sings from the point of view of two characters. They are two halves of a couple where the female begins complaining that men are always unfaithful. In the song’s music video, Stromae has dressed one half of his body like a female and the other half as a male, changing his angle to the camera and his mannerisms according to his character’s role.
3. Finally, his song “Formidable” was originally controversial because, for a while, everyone in Belgium thought Stromae was going to be arrested. In the song, Stromae is drunk and he doesn’t think he, or anyone else, is very wonderful anymore. All the people at the rail station are filming him on their phones, while posting their videos and comments. By the song’s end Stromae begins acting sober and shows to his videographer that he was just pretending for the music video.
Most of his music videos and performances involve himself dancing, which is a mix between avant-garde and break dancing. And his music is a mix between, electric, carribean, and rap or hip hop. Stromae is a talented lyricist, interesting dancer, and produces strong catchy beats. He is fresh and fearless in his approach to filming his videos, and speaks his mind through his lyrics, often saying things most are afraid to admit.
For more information, check out his music on iTunes and online.