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Paul van Haver (born 12 March 1985), better known by his stage name Stromae, is Belgian rapper, singer, dancer, and songwriter. Born to a Rwandan father and Belgian mother, he has managed to establish himself in the hip hop and electronic music genres.

He first emerged in the music scene in 2009 with his single, "Alors on danse", which became a number one hit in several European countries. His second album, Racine Carrée, was released in 2013 and became a huge commercial success. He is best known for songs such as "Papaoutai", "Ta fête", "Tous les mêmes", "Alors on danse", "Ave Cesaria", "Formidable", and "Quand c'est?". With his song "Carmen", he also gained new popularity in America.

With the end of the racine carrée tour and the release of the "Quand c'est ?" video in 2015, Stromae went on a hiatus to focus on other projects and to recovering from health problems and burnout. The hiatus was declared over by the fandom in 2018, when Stromae featured on Orelsan's "La pluie" and appeared in the accompanying music video. Stromae also released the single "Défiler" in April 2018 as the soundtrack to Mosaert'snote  first fashion show. In an interview three days after the release of "Défiler", Paul said he is starting to accumulate enough new material for a third album.

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Discography:

  • Cheese (2010)
  • Racine Carrée (2013)

This page is still a work in progress and needs some serious love.

Tropes that apply to Stromae and his music:

  • Abusive Father: The father on "Dodo".
  • Adorkable: Don't like more serious-looking pictures like the page image fool you. Stromae/Paul is this in spades.
  • all lowercase letters: racine carrée and most of the tracks thereon.
  • All Men Are Perverts: The philosophy of the singer in "Tous les mêmes".
  • All There in the Manual: Andréa's name is revealed and used only in leçon 24. In any other appearance where she is named (including the credits of the "tous les mêmes" video), she is referred to simply as "Stromae".
  • Animated Music Video: Sylvain Chomet creates one for his song "Carmen".
  • Anti-Love Song: "Te Quiero".
  • Advertisement:
  • Art Evolution: There is a noticeable change in cinematographic and FX quality between leçon 22 and leçon 23. Lampshaded in the latter:
    "... I told myself that thanks to all the money you all gave me, I could allow myself to buy a supermarket!"
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Invoked for "Up saw liz": the song is about how nobody's going to listen to what the narrator is going to sing, so he may as well sing about whatever. Cue the chorus.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Andrea, Stromae's female persona for "tous les mêmes".
  • Audience Participation Song: "ave cesaria", "Alors On Danse", and "Papaoutai".
  • Berserk Button: Parodied with the French fry rant that precedes "moules frites" live.
    "They are BELGIAN FRIES!"
  • Be Yourself: The Aesop of songs like "bâtard" and "sommeil".
  • Black and White Morality: Discussed in "Bâtard" ("Bastard"), which is about society's insistence on putting people into boxes, and why "bastard" is even an insult. The first verse explicitly points out the dangers of this kind of thinking with the line "Are you Hutu or Tutsi?" Notably, Stromae is of Rwandan-Belgian descent.
  • Black Comedy: "moules frites" is about a man who dies from an STI. The song the mourners sing at his funeral is the same thing his last partner screamed while orgasming.
    • "Dodo"—except for the latter half of the second verse, where the narrator drops the humour and picks up an axe.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The "leçons" series depicts Stromae as this.
  • Camp Straight: Stromae is this. Paul van Haver retains elements of this but isn't as over-the-top as his stage persona.
  • Careful with That Axe: "Dodo", "Papaoutai", and "bâtard".
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Stromae, as a character, can be one. See the first example in Berserk Button above.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: In his music video for "Tous les mêmes", the lighting changes between pink and green for his female and male personas respectively.
  • Crosscast Role: "Tous les mêmes" is from the perspective of a woman. In the official video, however, Stromae only spends half the time as a woman.
  • Curse Cut Short: Most of "avf".
  • Disappeared Dad: Paul van Haver lost his father in the Rwandan Genocide at a young age. Many of his songs deal with feelings of Parental Abandonment, such as "Papaoutai", or "Papa, where are you?".
  • Does Not Like Men: The protagonist of "tous les mêmes", despite her passing claims to the contrary.
    Z'avez de la chance qu'on vous aimesnote 
    Dis-moi mercinote 
  • Domestic Abuse: The topic of "Dodo".
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Defied: unless he is in character as Stromae or discussing something directly pertaining to Stromae, Paul Van Haver would prefer you call him Paul.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Cheese ends with the title track, which is about a Stepford Smiler who has been groomed to be so since childhood.
    • The video for "quand c'est ?" ends with Stromae dead on a stage. Bonus points for: a) being the end of the racine carrée era; and b) being the last major Stromae project Paul Van Haver would put out for three years.
  • Dream Team:
    • Stromae, Maître Gims, and Orelsan on "avf"; later, Stromae and Orelsan on "La pluie".
    • Stromae and Roes (fka Angel Haze) on the U.S. bonus remix of "Papaoutai".
    • Stromae, Jidenna, and Janelle Monáe at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 1, 2015.
    • Stromae and Kanye West on the "Alors on danse" remix.
  • Epic Rocking: "Défiler" is eight minutes and fifty seconds long.
  • Gentle Giant: Stromae is about 6'5'', and he explicitly rejects the notion that his size gives him any right to be violent. He's much smarter than a standard example of this trope, though.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The apparent relationship between the narrator and addressee of "sommeil".
  • Hurricane of Puns: "Défiler" riffs on the multiple meanings of "marche(r)", "pas", and "(dé)filer" multiple times during its nearly nine-minute runtime. Downplayed, in that the wordplays aren't meant to be comical but, instead, introspective.
  • In My Language, That Sounds Like...: In his native French, "Quand c'est?" sounds almost exactly like "cancer". The lyrics give a very good reason for the title of the song.
  • Intercourse with You: The subject of "moules frites", and mentioned in "Papaoutai" and "tous les mêmes".
  • Ironic Echo: The outro to "moules frites".
    • Meta example: Someone once yelled, "Bande de macaques,"note  at Paul and his friends. "Formidable" takes the insult and flips it onto the observers, who treat the narrator subhumanly—"like a monkey".
  • It Is Pronounced Tro Pay: Anglophone fans tend to pronounce "Stromae" as "Stro-MAY". The official pronunciation is "Stro-MY"note . However, the man himself doesn't mind, to the point of using the first version when speaking English and switching to the second when speaking French.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The narrator of "tous les mêmes" is arrogant, dramatic, and Does Not Like Men. However, the song reveals that her lover is shallow and dismissive, making the narrator's contempt somewhat justified. The music video emphasizes this, with the male characters being gross, slovenly, and licentious.
  • Jerkass Woobie: In-Universe: "Formidable" is from the perspective of a pretty terrible person who's been through some pretty terrible stuff.
  • Kids Rock: The unreleased "si tu veux me faire du buzz..." (and its remix, "... buzz des mains") has a kid (named Amaury) perform the hook.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Despite the upbeat melody of his songs, the lyrics can deal with some pretty dark themes. "Alors on Danse" tells of all the depressing reasons (Work, family, debts...) one has to party.
  • Madonna–Whore Complex: Mentioned in "bâtard":
    Sois t'es l'un ou soit t'es l'autre, t'es un homme ou bien tu périsnote 
    -cultrice ou patéticiennenote 
  • Men Don't Cry: "Dodo" has the father telling this to his son. That's not the intended moral of the song.
  • Mood Whiplash: "Dodo" and "Papaoutai" are both heavy on Lyrical Dissonance for the most part. However, during the second verses of both songs, the narrator starts yelling—only to return to his previous tone right after.
    • The sombre "Formidable" appears on racine carrée right between the upbeat "tous les mêmes" and the jaunty "moules frites".
    • Really, with how replete with Lyrical Dissonance Stromae's discography is, any number of his songs can become this if you only pick up on the song's lyrics partway through.
    • The video for "quand c'est ?" has this trope to an extent. The entire video is meant to be menacing and disconcerting, but most of it depicts its topics (cancer and death) with a measure of fantasy. The fantasy element is axed at the very end, though, when Stromae is shown simply dead.
  • The Oner: In the video for "Ave Cesaria", someone seems to have given the camera to a kid at a party.
  • Parental Abandonment: The subject of "Papaoutai". The lyrics talk about the consequences of growing up without a father, and the fear that the narrator's generation will abandon their own children because none of them know how to fulfill that role.
    "Everyone knows how to make babies, but no one knows how to make fathers."
    • Touched on in "tous les mêmes":
    Tu sais la vie c'est des enfants note 
    Mais comme toujours c'est pas l'bon momentnote 
    Ah oui pour les faire là tu es présentnote 
    Mais pour les élever y'aura qu'des absentsnote 
  • Precision F-Strike: "avf" plays into Curse Cut Short for the most part, but the end of the third verse gives us:
    Allez vous faire foutre; j'ai un match de foot note 
  • Sanity Slippage Song: "Formidable" has elements of this.
    Et qu'est-ce que vous avez tous, à me regarder comme un singe, vous ?note 
    Ah oui vous êtes saints/sains, vous !note 
    Bande de macaques !note 
    Donnez-moi un bébé singe, il seranote 
    Formidable...note 
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: The majority of Stromae's songs have him providing most of the backup vocals in addition to the main ones. There are occasionally other voices in his songs as well, but they can be difficult to pick out.
  • Self-Deprecation: This interview between Stromae and Andréa qualifies. It takes "tous les mêmes"' Jerkass Has a Point Up to Eleven by having Stromae downplay Andréa's contributions to the song and having him speak over her when she mentions her discomfort with the hook of the song, saying he couldn't possibly be sexist because Andréa was with him—and also, that this will be the last time Andréa appears with him on a television broadcast.
  • Soapbox Sadie: "avf" accuses both politicians and artists of being this.
  • Space Whale Aesop: "moules frites" explains that you should be careful about who you have sex with, or else you will die (almost instantly, at that), and the mourners at your funeral will sing your Badass Boast—which doubles as your last lover's Immodest Orgasm.
  • Spoken Word in Music: From the beginning of "ave cesaria":
    "On y va?" "Si, on y va." note 
  • Spoonerism: His stage name is one on "Maestro".
  • Stepford Smiler: "Alors on Dance", a song about partying and having a good time... because you have no control over your life and can't do much else.
    • The lyrics of "Sommeil" contain the line, "You smile too much to be happy."
    • "Cheese".
  • Take That!: "Carmen" and it's video are a scathing satire of people can become slaves to social media, to the point that their amount of Twitter followers is more important than their actual friends.
    • "moules frites" is one directed at Serge Gainsbourg, as Stromae felt the song "Les Sucettes" was "unfair for [the woman]".
  • Title Track: "Cheese" off the first album.
  • Troubled Abuser: Mentioned in "Dodo". It does not justify the abuse at all.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Referenced on "Dodo" and "tous les mêmes".
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