Written by Natasha Williamson.
After a three-year hiatus, Belgian artist Paul Van Haver, otherwise known as Stromae, has returned with a new single, ‘Santé’. Many may know him best for his song ‘Alors on dance’ released back in 2009 and its recent Tiktok revival, or else encountered him during their GCSE French days. However, his credentials far outshine these limited interactions.
For an artist with only two albums to his name, Stromae’s impact has been immense. From Cheese (2010) to racine carrée (2013), Stromae has reinvented dance music, infusing it with influences from all over the world, from his native Belgium to Africa via Cuba. The lyrics behind his music are innovative for the genre too – they are thought-provoking, topical and layered. He warned us of the trappings of social media and consumerism way back in 2013 with his song ‘Carmen’. With new single ‘Santé’ he celebrates the unsung heroes of our communities, those working long hours in demanding jobs.
His music videos ooze quality, a strong style and Stromae’s own quirky sense of humour. They are artistic vision manifested, which is understandable as Stromae’s label Mosaert is his own, co-founded with his brother, artistic director Luc Van Haver. Mosaert have helped the likes of Dua Lipa and Billie Eillish to create videos, while Stromae’s own video for ‘Tous les memes’ was a masterpiece in cynicism and humour. Focusing on attitudes of men and women toward one another. The video for ‘Santé’ is no different; it is joyous and colourful, clever and catchy and very Stromae. This vision carries through into his live performances.
As with the rest of his work, Stromae is bold and unafraid to push boundaries. The video for his song ‘Formidable’ saw him portraying a drunken homeless man in the centre of Brussels, filmed using secret cameras to capture authentic reactions from passers-by. Despite his frank conversation about social media in ‘Carmen’, Stromae has mastered this modern age. He creates exciting and innovative content (check out his ‘Stromae takes America’ and ‘Leçons’ series on Youtube, especially if you’re interested in making electronic music yourself) and he is an exciting and innovative individual.
It’s been quiet with him away, so here’s me raising a glass and giving a little santé, the French for “cheers”, to Stromae and his welcome return.
Check out Stromae’s spotify here!
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