Image Source: Stromae Facebook
With a very melodramatic and ever glorious Paris fashion week in true Parisian style now at a close, we continue on the French theme with this not so French but actually Belgium born (of a Dutch Mother and Rwandan Father) artist whose looks can be compared to a 60’s luxury-fashion campaign model or a very modernized Ken doll. Also of whom, after being catapulted to stardom in 2009, has not alone performed with Will.i.am and Major Lazor but has worked with the likes of Kanye West. And is an artist that will hopefully leave you in awe and intrigue in this weeks follow up music review.
“Stromae” taken from the name Maestro (Stro – Mae). Even in the name it becomes clear that we may not be dealing with your average commercial rapper, this is something entirely unique. Paul Van Haver, known to us by his stage alias Stromae, has an impressive take on Dance, French Chanson, African high-life, salsa, classical, rumba, pop, hip hop and electro music in such a remarkable way that really allows the listener to hear just how universal music is. With genre’s that on first glance would not be so readily accepted as the best fusion to create something magical, Stromae seems to do this without any effort at all. Giving you conscious and complex lyrics and having the time of his life whilst doing so.
Image Source: Vice
His 2013 album debut Racine Carrée is written entirely in the exquisite French language, an album that is pure “energy” from start to finish. Admittedly it is rare for any artist to have me running around my house singing at the top of my lungs ‘Ta Fete’. Therefore it was extremely difficult to decided which song can be selected as a favourite, as to even the more down-tempo tracks seem to resonate something either musically or lyrically magnetic. With this album it is not necessarily a matter of your comprehension of the French language but merely you apperception of sound and Stromae’s musical compositions as well as his engineering skills. His sound is truly a sophisticated mixed of raw talent with technical experience and understanding of classical and theatrical ensembles encountered along his musical journey.
Stromae has an innate mix of culture, duality, humor, fun, sophistication and technical ability that transcends within his music, his videos and his artistry. For those with a heavily cultured background or have duality, or have a broader mix of heritage, even simply those that just have a love for dance and afro music then Papaoutai (where is your father?) is most definitely where we hear cultural origins. A song, which in its sound, is in complete contrast, to the depth of the lyrics. The lyrics in Papaoutai question fatherhood conventionally, underpinning many interesting references of what is a father? What is good or bad and experience is what will be the decider. It may be in the Soukous guitar, or maybe even the mix of heavy base house-drums and Congolese drums merged together that make it easy to see just how much the album and particularly this song has something for everyone.
Image source: Fault Magazine
On the opposite end are tracks such as Humain à l’eau which bring the sound back to dance and more gangster rap and Tous les mêmes which has the same amount of energy as other songs on the album but is the polar opposite to the other tracks, where chanson and classical meet with pop, and give listeners a chance to experience Stromae’s vocals as a singer and not a rapper, as well as his dance capabilities in his very ambiguous video adaptation of a musicals theatrics, rather than your typical music video.
Stromae’s careful execution of his music allows you to see his appreciation of music as an art form. Therefore here at DIFORM we give standing ovation to the marvel that has become Stromae with eager anticipation for his next album and UK Tour dates.
To follow more on Stromae go to these links below.
Buy album here
Edit & Words By: Florence Bailey