Do you like
- hard hitting, yet eloquent upbeat French lyrics?
- learning new and slightly eccentric dance moves?
- brushing up on your verlan?
- a mix between rap, spoken word, and singing?
- expanding your francophone horizons? (we’re bringing Belgium back, yeah!)
Then read on!
Unafraid to confront social convention Stromae juxtaposes addictive upbeat (and danceable) songs with some heavy and thought provoking lyrics. He is the very maestro from which he took his name. Not a French speaker? Not to worry the songs are great on their own but I highly recommend looking up translations of the lyrics because Stromae just lays it down!
Below are my top three songs at the moment but be sure to check out his latest album Racine Carrée for more.
Alors On Danse – Do you hate your job? Has the day-to-day drudgery and the farce that is everyday life become overwhelming? Well, this song is for you. This is the track that launched Stromae into international acclaim. And forces me to dance whenever I hear it…which may be the point.
Ave Cesaria – This song is the least synthesized of the three and has an effervescent tropical beat. The home style video can be a little dizzying but is endearing and does a great job of showing different points of view as the camera is passed amongst the party goers.
Tous Les Mêmes – Herein are the fun dance moves mentioned earlier. This music video features Stromae acting out male and female roles while he sings from the perspective of a woman. It is awesome. The demented tango he dances with himself (lyrically and literally) is something I feel like we all can relate to.
Do you want
- new beats for that casual dance party?
- to kick up the soundtrack to your morning commute?
- to reminisce about R&B days gone by?
- to impress your friends by throwing out words like mandopop and Chinese neo-soul?
Well, have I got the artist for you! I stumbled upon Khalil Fong, the Hong Kong based artist also known as Soulboy, through one fateful click. When I came to three hours and multitudes of music videos later I knew it was love (I was also convinced I knew enough Mandarin to sing along.)
Khalil, Khalil, Khalil, you have filled a neo-soul shaped hole in my heart I didn’t even know was there. He melds the genres of soul, RB, pop, in a manner that is instantly relatable without sounding generic. Throw in an upbeat retro flourish and I was sold. While he may be news to me he actually released his first album in back in 2005 and has been consistently releasing music since then. With so much music to choose from there’s bound to be one song that catches your ear and has you tapping your feet.
Check out some my favorites (and music videos) below:
Romeo is the kind of song you want to hear at a party to get people up, on their feet, and smiling. Just try not to dance. I dare you. If you like this song check out Eric Nam’s song Ooh Ooh.
BB88 is more laid back than the other two songs shown here but just as catchy. I like to think of it as my boppin’ around town song.
Dangerous World has the most distinctive “pop sound” of these three as well as some electronic elements. I’ve had this song stuck in my head for the past three days.
There are so many more songs available by Khalil Fong! This is some of his later work but his early albums (like Soul boy) as well as his collaborations are also worth a listen. Check them out on Youtube and on iTunes!