Stromae is not out to make comfortable pop music. The Belgian singer has made a name for himself over the past few years by writing in elegant French verse about challenging topics: gender politics, the alienation that often accompanies social media and economic disillusionment. It's pop with an unassumingly confrontational sneer.
His latest video for "Quand C'est?" (translation: When Is It?), released Monday, is just as upsetting and just as beautiful as anything he's ever cut. It turns a battle with cancer into a horrifying ballet.
The growing tendrils of the cancer stalk Stromae around the stage. It shrinks and hides from his gaze in the beginning, but slowly grows bolder as the dance progresses. Eventually it takes him.
"You even tried to get my mother/ Starting with her breasts/ And my father's lungs," Stromae sings, per the video's translation. "Do you remember them?" It's unlikely, the video seems to suggest, as the camera tunnels into a core where the cancer's numerous faceless, featureless victims struggle tangled in its clutches.
The whole video unfolds with a unsettling beauty. Stromae's evocative choreography brings out all the sinister tones of the song's delicate chorus. Fans and newcomers alike should expect nothing less from one of the most visionary minds in global pop. Watch the full video below and check out some of Stromae's other fascinating visuals here.