I have no idea what Belgian singer, songwriter and producer Stromae is saying in any of his records, but when I first heard “Alors on Danse” last year I couldn’t stop listening. The translated message of letting go stress and surrendering to dance has been a mantra I’ve been screaming for years now. However, I never explored anything beyond that single until recently when I listened to his new album, “Racine Carree“. The record is entirely in French, but despite our language barrier I fell in love with the neatly arranged melodies over feel-good production created mostly by the singer himself.
The lead single, “Papaoutai” left a lasting impression. In English means “Dad, where are you?” Even before understanding the lyrics I felt the passion in the singer’s voice. I knew this song would have a greater meaning than what the beat might have portrayed. The song, which became a #1 hit in both France and Belgium delivers a message the whole world should hear. Using his powerful voice instead of his speaking tone he belts in French, “Everyone knows how babies are made, but no one knows how fathers are made.”
The emotional music video illustrates a young boy interacting with a lifeless father who is played by Stromae. Watching the performance we are reminded that parenting is a life long job that requires your presence to be more than just a face in the room. We see a young child daydreaming of a father-son relationship like those of his friends while questioning his dad’s abandonment. The thought provoking ending provides a glimpse of what can happen when a dad shows no interest in his child. I am not a father, but this video made me wonder if a father’s behavior shapes a child’s parenting skills, then what kind of message would I want to share with my child someday?
I will admit that I cried while watching this video and I am usually not one to cry during any kind of performance.