Stromae’s New Video for ‘Quand c’est’ is a Gut-Wrenching Open Letter to Cancer

Article posted by Robert Rowat in Radio 2 – “Quand c’est” is a play on words. It means “when it is,” but is a homophone in French for “cancer,” which is the subject of a new song and gut-wrenching video from Belgian artist Stromae.

The lyrics (in French) take the form of an open letter to the disease that has touched nearly everyone’s life, beginning:

“Oh yes, we know each other well,
You even tried to get my mother,
Starting with her breasts,
And my father’s lungs.”

In the video, Stromae’s lithe, expressive body resists cancer’s relentless attacks, depicted by roots and branches of some sinister tree that move like vultures. It’s terrifying and powerful, a tour-de-force of music, movement and animation.

Lyrics:

Mais oui on se connait bien
T’as même voulu t’faire ma mère hein
T’as commencé par ses seins
Et puis du poumon à mon père
Tu t’en souviens ?

Cancer, cancer, dis-moi quand c’est ?
Cancer, cancer, qui est le prochain ?
Cancer, cancer, oh dis-moi quand c’est ?
Cancer, cancer, qui est le prochain ?

Et tu aimes les petits enfants
Décidément, rien ne t’arrête toi
Et arrête de faire ton innocent
Sur les paquets de cigarettes
“Fumer tue”, tu m’étonnes
Mais tu m’aides

Cancer, cancer, dis-moi quand c’est ?
Cancer, cancer, qui est le prochain ?
Cancer, cancer, oh dis-moi quand c’est ?
Cancer, cancer, oh cancer

Quand c’est, quand c’est
Que tu cesses tes avances ?
Quand c’est, quand c’est
Que tu pars en vacances ?
Quand c’est, quand c’est
Quand est-ce que tu y penses ?
Quand c’est, quand c’est ?
Ça nous fera des vacances

[Refrain]

Qui est le prochain ?
Qui est le prochain ?
Qui est, qui est, qui est le prochain ?
Qui est, qui est, qui est le prochain ?
Qui est, qui est, qui est le prochain ?
Qui est, qui est, qui est le prochain ?
Qui est, qui est, qui est le prochain ?
Qui est, qui est, qui est le prochain ?
Qui est, qui est, qui est le prochain ?
Qui est, qui est, qui est le prochain ?

English Translation

Well, yes, we know each other well.
You even wanted to do my mother, huh?
You started with her breasts,
and then with my father’s lung. Do you remember?

[Chorus]
Cancer, cancer,
tell me when.
Cancer, cancer,
who’s next?
Cancer, cancer,
tell me when.
Cancer, cancer,
who’s next?

And you love little children;
practically nothing stops you.
But stop playing innocent
on cigarette packs.
“Smoking kills” – you shock me,
but you help me.

[Chorus]
Cancer, cancer,
tell me when.
Cancer, cancer,
who’s next?
Cancer, cancer,
tell me when.
Cancer, cancer,
Oh, cancer.

When? When?
(When) will you stop your advances?
When? When?
(When) will you go on vacation? When?
When? When?
When do you think?
When? When?
It’ll be like a vacation to us. [Literal]/ It would do us some good.

[Chorus]
Cancer, cancer,
tell me when.
Cancer, cancer,
who’s next?
Cancer, cancer,
tell me when.
Cancer, cancer,
Who’s next?

Who’s next? [x10]

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This entry was posted in Art and Artist, Music and Musicians / Song of the Day and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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