Barely two weeks after Pitchfork put the first one online, the second video in the “Stromae Takes America” lesson series was published today by Fader.
This one was filmed in Seattle last spring. It finds Stromae holed up in a kitschy room at the Nites Inn Motel. “A motel is maybe the best place to talk about loneliness, so ‘Formidable’ is about loneliness,” he tells us before introducing the tracks of the song and trying to make us cry.
Love the moment where he rocks out on the bed at 2:07. And despite the fact that he tells himself, “your English sucks, man,” he comes up with a pun that’s not half bad, joking around with his guiboard/keytar. His English is obviously at least good enough to start to play with the language in the inventive way he’s so famous for in French.
After working through the song, Stromae heads out to karaoke night at The Baranof, a dive bar in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle, where the host calls him up to the stage by his first name. The tiny audience seems mostly unfazed or confused by his performance, but a few warm up to him. One woman in an Oakland Raiders t-shirt and ball cap is completely taken by him. She says something unintelligble to him by way of greeting as he leaves the stage. Please leave a comment below if you can understand what she’s saying!
On YouTube, Fader‘s followers seem equally won over, with one commenting “Do more stuff like this Fader. Amazing, wow…”
Here’s the article Fader published to accompany the video.
Through these associations with Pitchfork and Fader, the maestro of marketing is effectively positioning himself to reach his target audience–Americans who are interested in emerging music and culture. We can’t wait to see what’s next.
The video was directed by Jérôme Guiot, who talks about the process behind the “Stromae Takes America” series in an interview you can read here.
UPDATE September 20: Although there are several names listed as “extras” and “cast members” in the credits of the video, the interactions in the bar were not scripted: the staff and patrons at The Baranof weren’t aware that they were participating in the filming of a professional video. In response to questions from Stromae supporter Jean-Marie Rault on their Facebook page, The Baranof confirmed that they had no idea who the singer was until they viewed the video after Rault drew their attention to it by posting it on their page two days after its release. The Baranof emphasized that they are “just a small community dive bar that loves karaoke.”