Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Stromae: √ (Racine carré)

This week sees the release of the long-awaited second album by Belgian singer-songwriter Stromae.

The new album, entitled  "√" or "Racine carrée" (That's 'Square root' in English)

The artist, known to his family as Paul Van Haver, became internationally known following the success of his song Alors on danse.

The song reached number one in countries across Europe, including France, even making inroads in the UK where it became probably the best know French songs in recent years.

It led to collaborations with the likes of Kanye West and the Black Eye Peas, his debut album Cheese winning the best dance album award in the Victoires de la Musique in 2011.

The songs Papaoutai and Formidable have been released ahead of the album, Papaoutai reaching number one in France as well as Belgium, Formidable reaching the number one spot in Belgium and top five in France, its hidden camera video being one of the most memorable so far this year.

The album's been a critical success, and this looks set to be mirrored in the album's commercial reception.

Some critics have compared him to Brel, but this might be down to a shortage of instantly recognisable Belgian songwriters, but there's certainly something in their similarly iconoclastic approach.

Stromae's an intelligent and witty operator, who is able to wrap some clever and mature ideas into instantly memorable songs.

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