by Belle Waring on May 3, 2014

I like this song (“Tous les Mêmes” [corrected, thanks Ezster!]) and video by Belgian musician Stromae. I hope you will also.

I am distracted from his alternate blue-green-male/magenta-female personalities by the fabulous furniture in their apartment. Probably my job has gotten to me too much if my immediate thought is “I want that wall-mounted storage unit!” rather than “this reminds me of when I wondered where they got all those implausibly tall, thin dudes to dance on Soul Train, and whether it was just because cocaine is one helluva drug, or what–no, here’s Stromae!” (I grant there’s a hidden premise.) Tertiary May Day thought inspired by outdoor dance scene: I always read that students were throwing cobblestones, and then I ever saw any and thought, “that must have took a damn bit of effort to get up out the ground.” Also I stepped on Eszter’s post. Sorry!



Another lurker 05.03.14 at 5:05 pm

If you understand French I suggest you go ahead and listen and read the lyrics to some of his other stuff, you wouldn’t imagine so much depth was hidden behind such danceable music. The man has been hailed as the new Brel multiple times.


Another lurker 05.03.14 at 5:11 pm

Also about the cobblestones: those look much bigger than the ones in Paris. I think the video was shot in Antwerp.


Eszter Hargittai 05.03.14 at 5:24 pm

Very cool. (It’s “Tous” not “Tout”, that actually makes a difference and I’m impressed by my French that I caught that.:)

The general idea is great and well executed. I really like what they’re doing at 1:10 in particular, but enjoyed watching the entire clip quite a bit.


Jim Buck 05.03.14 at 5:30 pm

Off topic;if this is about wall-mounted storage units; but is this guy of your tree, Belle:


Z 05.03.14 at 7:33 pm

That must have took a damn bit of effort to get up out the ground

They used (mostly) the grid that used to surround the base of trees to dislodge them. So the plan was 1) extract a grid from a tree 2) dislodge the cobblestone using the spikes of the grid and then 3) throw it. Or so it is said, at least.


Cian 05.03.14 at 11:48 pm


Belle Waring 05.04.14 at 2:51 am

Tout is a typo since it ain’t even grammatical! [Zoë says the preceding sentence is not grammatical.] I copied the title wrong. Agreed Parisian cobblestones are smaller, but still hella difficult to get out of the ground.


Belle Waring 05.04.14 at 3:37 am

Also I mostly figured out what the chorus is about, he’s saying: “I’ll meet you, I’ll meet you at the next…rumble, I guess, melee fistfight; I’ll meet you, I’ll definitely meet you at the next appointment. [Or fixed period of time. Or maybe, when this starts all over again?]”


wim 05.04.14 at 5:28 am

the furniture is probably Pastoe from the fifties and sixties. Minimalistic, extremely wellmade and timeless


JPL 05.04.14 at 5:40 am

Loved it! Cool bassline riff makes the song, great choreography. Never heard of this fellow; I’m going to check out what else he’s done. Thanks!


wim 05.04.14 at 6:01 am

@JPL, check out Formidable and Papaoutaie,

He’s a sensation in Belgium and beyond


Z 05.04.14 at 9:48 am

Or fixed period of time.

You’re getting ever so close: I’ll meet you when your/my period comes back is the intended meaning (with an intended pun with “when this starts all over again”). The song alludes many times to the fact that men discard women’s complaints as the bad mood induced by their periods.


Another lurker 05.04.14 at 12:49 pm

No the chorus says: “Rendez-vous, rendez-vous, rendez-vous au prochain règlement
Rendez-vous, rendez-vous, rendez-vous sûrement aux prochaines règles”.

It’s a play on règlement as in payment, and règles as in menstruation.

Another nice chorus is from formidable, where he alternates formidable with fort minable, that sound almost the same: formidable has more or less the same meaning as in English, while fort minable could be translated as so pathetic.


SN 05.04.14 at 2:31 pm

This is so fabulous–thanks for posting. Love the song, the velvet jacket, the wall unit. Also, the couch and record player. Never heard of Stromae. Somehow news of Europe’s biggest pop star never reached me as a middle aged American. Fantastique!


Belle Waring 05.04.14 at 2:47 pm

OK I see about the period pun then. (One thing that threw me in listening to the verses was that I just wasn’t expecting him to say anything about Kate Moss LOL, though I agree she is eternally beautiful.) But then I don’t see what prochain réglement has to do with the male side? Or is there just no alteration? They are paying up cash money because–? Or they are settling, like getting divorced? Or they are suffering a defeat (it can mean that I think, but unlikely)? As to why I didn’t just look at French lyrics with English subs I guess youtube subs often suck and I enjoyed the song enough to sit there thinking about it, even though I don’t know French well. But my daughter helpfully pointed out that YOUTUBE COMMENTS ARE GOOD FOR SOMETHING! If there are subs that are wrong, then commenters will complain and native speakers will repeatedly correct. She does this for Vocaloid songs, for which people produce romaji, ordinary written Japanese, and then English translations, the last of which are often totally hilariously wrong. Thanks for the corrections, Z and Another Lurker! This is totally Ingrid’s beat obvs ;-) we should be making her tell us about s33krit Belgian slang. They are talking the dozens about mayonnaise on french fries! A subject on which I was converted early in life. Now my children and other Singaporeans wish to convince me of the merit of ice cream on fries. It’s got to be Mickey D’s, dipping hot fries in the soft-serve chocolate. I have indicated my willingness to try. One must be open to new things.


Another lurker 05.04.14 at 3:20 pm

I like to think that the payment is for alimony, but it’s not completely clear.


idonthaveacoolname 05.04.14 at 6:36 pm

I would think that règlement here is in relation to a regular payment but alimony doesnt seem to align with the later verse “Quoi toi aussi tu veux finir maintenant ?”, meaning “what? you want to break up now?”


idonthaveacoolname 05.04.14 at 6:51 pm

And while I think Formidable is my favorite Stromae tune, if you want “danceable music” the I would look to his song Alors on Danse.


And I apologize if posting this video link threatens to turn this thread much like a Friday night with Krugman.


Alex 05.04.14 at 6:51 pm

When I lived in Vienna, a demonstration outside the then controversial Wehrmacht exhibition turned ugly after my student colleagues discovered that the city had been mending the road, and had left a big pile of loose kopfsteine on the site, just around the corner…


Z 05.04.14 at 7:34 pm

But then I don’t see what prochain réglement has to do with the male side?

The sentence is kind of mysterious. I think the most natural meaning is “settlement” but what is so periodically settled remains unclear. My understanding is that the couple regularly fight (or “settle counts”, in colloquial French) and that the song is one of these regular fights. Except that this one might be the last because the woman is threatening to leave and, to her dismay, the man seems to be seizing the opportunity to end the relationship rather than to beg her to stay (as she expected).

Or they are suffering a defeat (it can mean that I think, but unlikely)?

I didn’t think it could and the usual reference dictionaries agree it can’t.

if you want “danceable music” the I would look to his song Alors on Danse.

Stromae is one of the rare popular artist for which my personal ranking exactly coincides with the ranking of songs in decreasing order of media popularity: so Alors on danse and Formidable are absolutely great (and heard everywhere), Tous les mêmes and Papaoutai are catchy, Carmen is OK and the rest is not so good (and rather unknown).


Belle Waring 05.05.14 at 12:50 am



Belle Waring 05.05.14 at 12:53 am

No, LOL, but some of the dance choreographed to the “prochain règlement” part indicates that they’re fighting, I think. My new favorite Stromae song is Papaoutai and the video is so hilarious although the song is sad. I’ll wait and post it in a bit.


Forse 05.05.14 at 3:50 pm

“bête ou belle”? sings Stromae. Je choisis la Belle!
Tx so much for posting this vid.
Forse in Hong Kong.

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