Music around the World: Stromae

Mehalet KesateBirhan, Staff Writer

When it comes to French music there is not a shortage of options, yet choosing Stromae to write about was no head-scratcher. He is, in my opinion, one of the best artists of our generation. His name is a clever play of the syllables from the word Maestro. Born of a Rwandan father and a Belgian mother, his tall, skinny and awkward appearance gives him a sort of ‘genius geek’ look you can’t help but fall in love with. His music is a combination of hip-hop, rap and electronic music to which he sometimes adds African beats to. It is a mixture that works perfectly and makes anyone want to move.

You might have heard his first hit “Alors On Danse” which remained number one in many European billboards. It is very catchy and you can’t help but bob your head to the beat. When you understand the lyrics, you will smile at the cleverness and wisdom of his words. Kanye West was even featured in a version of the song, which in my opinion was abysmal

His latest album, Racine Carré, was released in May 2013 and charted in France, Belgium, Germany and Netherlands. It is a powerful album, communicating serious matter wrapped in humor and great music. It truly is worth listening to from start to finish because it touches upon many social issues, from absentee fathers (“Papaoutai”), to the dangers of neutrality (“Bâtard”), to issues in relationships (“Tous les Mêmes”, “Formidable”).

A Stromae fan such as I can go on and on about the brilliance of his music so let me stop myself before starting a dissertation. Trust me when I say that if you listen to any of his songs, especially Papaoutai or Alors On Danse, you will find yourself liking Stromae. I hope that it will lead you to Google his music and find translations to his lyrics. You can also ask any foreign exchange student from France to translate, there are many of them on campus, and it’s a great way to get to know some of them. Once you understand his words, you will see what I mean when I say that this dude is awesome! Spotify or YouTube are good places to start your venture. Enjoy.