Paul Van Awer, also known as the Belgian singer, songwriter and composer Stromae, began his musical career in 2000, at the age of 15, but recorded and released his first EP only in 2007. In 2009, he released the single Alors on Danse, which became popular not only in the performer’s homeland, but also in other European countries, this song to this day is his most recognizable, unique calling card. A year later, Paul released his debut album, which included the mentioned song, but even 10 years after its release, his second album, Racine carrée, remains the most popular. One of the most highly rated songs from the record was Tous les mêmes, which Paul released as a single before the album’s release. Work on the song began in 2013, shortly before its release, although the performer began recording some other tracks from Racine carrée back in 2012.
In December 2013, an official video was released for the song, reflecting the content of the track. In general, as Paul noted, the whole composition is about gender stereotypes and how they interfere with the lives of people themselves. “You men are the same, all cheap machos, unfaithful weaklings” – the narrative begins from the perspective of a woman, she throws insults at her partner and sees him as the personification of all men in general.
“I’m not sure that you deserve me, you’re lucky that they love you” – despite an unhealthy relationship, a woman does not want to leave a man, all women do not want to leave their men, they love them, even if they are “unfaithful weaklings.” “Goodbye, until the next rules” – the chorus reveals the problem itself. Who determined what men and women should be like? Why can’t you leave an unfaithful weakling if he hurts you over and over again? Why not leave a woman who sees all men the same? “This is the last time, you see me for the last time at the suitcases… say “goodbye” to your mom, who idealizes you, you don’t know who you are losing, it will only get worse with the other one… do you also want to end everything now?
I said this only for the sake of your reaction, but you really thought about it” – the woman demonstrates a desire to end the relationship, but in fact does not want this, she wants the man to prove himself as a partner, to show that he also needs this relationship. And the man also does not break off this relationship, despite the accusations that he is a “mama’s boy” and many others. “It’s easy to say that I’m just whining and chatting, but what you call “periods” is important” – the man does not attach importance to the speeches of his partner, the phrase about periods refers to the eternal and widespread clash “it’s just your period”, when men attribute women’s emotionality and dissatisfaction to the menstrual cycle.
“You know that life is children, but you are only ready to have them, not raise them, you will disappear when I lose my beauty, at least natural, you are lying, because only Kate Moss remains unchanged” – it seems like both partners they want to start a family, but the woman, even now, when there is no talk of even conception, is sure that her partner will leave her if responsibility arises in the form of a child, and he will leave her because she will no longer be beautiful in a few years; only models are considered invariably beautiful, which most women don’t have much in common with. Again, who set these beauty standards? Who decided that a man should leave when a woman is no longer attractive in her youth? Who obliged men to leave their family – their wife and children – instead of raising their offspring?
“Beautiful or ugly, stupid or beautiful, beautiful or me, me or her – everything is wrong” – beauty standards unattainable for women lead to the fact that men turn up their noses even at beauties, finding disadvantages and imperfections even in them, not to mention average women. “See you, goodbye, until the next rules” – as long as a person is within these limits, follows these rules, he, in fact, will encounter them again and will suffer again, be it a man or a woman. Men blame women, women blame men: it is unclear who is to blame for the fact that it is impossible to follow these rules, otherwise everyone would be happy, and it is unclear who established these rules, and the narrator does not aim to find out – he exposes the problems as they are is, and sees the only way out – to abandon these stereotypes, “everyone is the same, I’ve had enough.” The narrator-performer chooses to abandon established rules of behavior and expected norms, to go beyond the eternal conflict between men and women, chooses himself and his comfort.