Tu étais formidable, j’étais fort minable
Nous étions formidables”
Music speaks its own language, so why only listen to music in your native tongue? Stromae, born in Belgium, sings and raps in French and, for me, not knowing what he was saying only added to the intrigue and feeling of his electronic music. Stromae’s parents were Rwandan and Flemish, which gives him an unearthly, gangly presence. His movements are especially hypnotizing in the video for Papaoutai, where he jerks his body around and then goes absolutely still like a mannequin.
Stromae’s music is fun to dance and party to, but his lyrics are anything but trite. Papaoutai is about growing up without a father and another one of my favorites, Formidable, is a drunk man’s rantings about his breakup. The video for Formidable is basically Stromae trolling the public, as he actually went out in Brussels pretending to be hammered and sang his song loudly, while stumbling about.
Currently, Stromae is touring the USA and hoping to make it big. He’s a complete showman and his music is a labor of love, but will America fall in love with him?