Last night, waiting for my dinner to finish baking, I was dancing in the kitchen while snacking on some pre-dinner gelato (because when else is gelato so satisfying?), jamming out to a Stromae (pronounced like “maestro” split in half, the second half said first) song, when I suddenly recalled how spectacular his music really is. I haven’t listened to almost any music lately, and so haven’t listened to any of his either. When I taught high school French, I listened to and discussed his music all the time with students. They had to find a new francophone song every month that they liked, and each student and each class went in all different directions. But, without fail, a single Stromae song would come up once in a class, and then his entire repertoire would show up the following months from different students in that class. They regularly requested his music, whenever we played music during work time in class.
We listened to a lot of French language music, and the kids knew I loved lots of it. But they also knew that I liked Stromae for more than just his voice, and, at some point, they decided that I really loved him and his music. I remember one specific incident of Stromae coming up in casual chat during class, and a student said, “Oh, we know, Miss —: you would totally date Stromae if you had the chance.” I’m almost certain that I verbally agreed immediately, and we all laughed. It was great. (So many things those kids never knew about me and my life, but they always remembered anything they ever heard about dating or marriage.) 😛
If you don’t know Stromae’s music, check it out. You can start with this English interview he did, which is great. He still sings in French, and even dances a bit (he’s a spectacular dancer, by the way, as can be seen in his music videos), but the discussion is all in English. I find the themes of his music to be powerful, though regularly dangerous and tough, even scary – but, to me, they are real and honest. What’s more, they make for a great dance party any day, because the musicality is tops (especially so if you don’t understand the lyrics). When I first heard of him, it was from a German kid when I’d first arrived in France for school. He mentioned that the only French song Germans knew was this “Alors, on danse” song that I wasn’t too sure I’d ever even heard, but definitely had heard of. That was the only line I understood when I first listened to Stromae’s music (“And so, we dance”), but it didn’t matter – I still loved it all. Now, I just love it even more, because I understand the words.
(“Dodo” is one that gets stuck in my head most often these days. It’s a prime example of what I mean by a tough song – a difficult theme combined with beautiful music. I recommend you watch the video first, and then look up the lyrics.)