Stromae’s “Papaoutai” Lyrics Meaning

The title of this Stromae song translates to “dad, where are you?” Or stated differently, it is about absentee fatherhood. And it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the track may be autobiographical in nature, especially considering that Stromae did in fact grow up without a father. However, such is unlikely since his own dad was unfortunately killed in Rwanda. In other words, Stromae’s father wasn’t absent because he chose to be, like the character portrayed in this song.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Stromae's Papaoutai at

So comprehensively it would seem that Stromae has a genuine issue with the matter he is speaking to, being able to sympathize with others who are dealing with it as well. And the lyrics take two different approaches in tackling the subject of absentee fathers. In the first verse, the singer portrays himself as a naïve child whose dad has decided to bounce, and the mother is doing her best to try to cover up the fact that he is not coming back.  And in the second verse Stromae sort of preaches against the idea of men making babies which they are not prepared to take care of.

Facts about “Papaoutai”

This track came out, via Vertigo Records and Mosaert, on May 13th, 2013. It is the lead single from Stromae’s critically acclaimed second album, which is entitled “Racine Carrée”.

Stromae also remixed the song alongside American vocalist Angel Haze, which serves as the iTunes bonus track to “Racine Carrée”. Stromae’s international hit “Formidable” also appeared as a single on “Racine Carrée”.

Adam Nael served as director of the music video to this song.

“Papaoutai” is one of  Stromae’s biggest hits. It topped three music charts in Belgium (Ultratop Flanders UrbanUltratop 50 Wallonia and Ultratop 50 Wallonia Dance) in addition to scoring a number one in France. Additionally it charted in approximately 20 nations overall.

Moreover it achieved Platinum status or better in Belgium and a handful of other countries.

“Papaoutai” was written and produced by Stromae.

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