Stromae — L’enfer Lyrics, English Translation & Meaning

L’enfer (Pronunciation ɑ̃fɛʀ; Meaning: Hell) is a hit song released by Belgian singer Stromae in 2022. The song’s lyrics deal with the sensitive subject of suicide and suicidal thinking.

L'enfer by Stromae

Dear Reader: If you’re having suicidal thoughts please call the suicide hotline for help: 988 (USA), 1 (833) 456-4566 (Canada), 116 123 (UK), 01 46 21 46 46 (France).

Become an expert in French song lyrics
One of the best ways to learn French is by studying the lyrics of songs. On this site we’ve provided full analysis of the lyrics several other Stromae songs including “Alors On Danse“, “Papaoutai” and “Formidable“. Indila is a leading female French singer. For Indila, we’ve analyzed the lyrics of the hit songs: “Dernière Danse“, “Tourner Dans Le Vide” and “Love Story“. Another more recent song worth looking into is “Je Veux” by Zaz. For Edith Piaf, arguably the greatest French singer of all time, we’ve analyzed the lyrics of “La Vie En Rose“, “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien“, “Sous Le Ciel De Paris“, “Milord” and “Mon Dieu“.

L’enfer song synopsis

In the song L’enfer, Stromae sings about both the problem of having suicidal thoughts and the complex mental process behind them.

In the beginning of the song he indicates that he knows he’s not alone (J’suis pas tout seul à être tout seul; I’m not alone being alone) to have these thoughts but still feels alone (je m’sens tout seul; I feel alone) in the world.

In the song’s chorus, Stromae touches on the shame of having these suicidal thoughts (Et j’en suis peu fier; And I’m not proud of that), thinking suicide is the only way to quiet them (c’est la seule manière de les faire taire; it’s the only way to shut them up) and that that’s what makes both himself and others with similar thoughts live in hell (Ces pensées qui nous/me font vivre un enfer; These thoughts that make us/me live in hell).

In the second verse, he touches on wanting to change the metaphorical “guilt TV channel” (Est-c’qu’y a que moi qui ai la télé?; Am I the only one who has the TV?) and how quickly the thoughts come back after he’s stopped thinking about them (Sinon ça r’part vite dans la tête; Otherwise it starts again quickly in your head).

In the final verse he touches on the mental quagmire about having suicidal thoughts and just not knowing what to do with himself and what decision to make (je sais vraiment pas quoi faire de toi; And I really don’t know that to do [with you]).

Lyrics from the chorus of L'enfer by Stromae

Stromae L’enfer lyrics analysis

In the following section we’ve highlighted lines from the lyrics of the song “L’enfer” which we think offer interesting insights into French vocabulary and grammar.

Note that our translation is rather loose and not direct. We did this in order to correctly convey the song’s message.

J’suis pas tout seul à être tout seul

This line translates to “I’m not alone being alone”. In the line, Stromae is highly the irony of not being alone being alone. “J’suis” is a shorting of “Je suis” (I am). The verb être mean “to be” in French. Seulmeans “alone” and “tout seul” means “all alone”.

Ça fait d’jà ça d’moins dans la tête

This line translates loosely to “At least that’s less in my head”. The literal translation of this line is: “That makes already that of less in my head”. “D’ja” is a shortening of “déjà” (already).

Et si j’comptais, combien on est, beaucoup

This line translates to “And I counted how many of us there are; a lot”. “Comptais” is the imperfect tense of the verb “compter” (to count). The imperfect is used to describe what somebody “was doing” in the past. “Combien” means “how much” or “how many”.

“On est” translates to both “one is” and “we are”. The page explores the French personal pronoun “on”.

Tout ce à quoi j’ai d’jà pensé

This line translates to “Everything (that) I already thought about”. “Tout” translates to “all” or “everything”. “Ce à quoi” is an indefinite relative pronoun meaning “that”. “J’ai pensé” is the passé composé (the most commonly used French past tense) of the verb “penser” (to think).

Dire que plein d’autres y ont d’jà pensé

This line translates to “Saying that lots of others have already thought about it”. “Dire” means “to say”. The infinitive is used when a sentence starts with a verb that’s being used as a subject in the -ing form.

“Plein d’autres” means “many others” and is synonymous with “beaucoup d’autre personnes” (many other people.

The “y” is an indirect object pronoun meaning “it” and used for verbs followed by the preposition à; “penser à quelque chose” (to think about something).

Mais malgré tout je m’sens tout seul

This sentence translates to “But despite everything I feel all alone”. “Malgré” translates despite. “Je m’sens” is first-person singular (je) form of the reflexive verb “se sentir (to feel).

Du coup

Du coupis a filler or transition word that translates to “so”. It is very commonly used in spoken French.

J’ai parfois eu des pensées suicidaires

This line translates to “Sometimes I have suicidal thoughts”. In French, “J’ai” means “I have”. This page covers avoir (to have) in detail. The word parfois means “sometimes”. Another synonym is “de temps en temps” (from time to time). While the verb “penser” means to think, the noun “pensée” means “thought”.

Et j’en suis peu fier

This line translates to “And I’m not proud of that”. The adjective “fier” means proud. En is an indirect object pronoun meaning “of it”. “En” is used with verbs followed by the preposition “de”.

On croit parfois que c’est la seule manière de les faire taire

This line translates to “You think sometimes it’s the only way to shut them up”. “Croit” is the third-person singular form of the verb “croire” (to believe). The “les” in this sentence is a direct object pronoun meaning “them”. “Les” is also a definite article and the plural form of “the”. The verb “taire” means “to shut up”. When preceded by faire (to make/do), “les faire taire” means “shut them up”.

Ces pensées qui nous/me font vivre un enfer

Speed up your learning with the right audio course

My friend, Camille, at Frenchtoday.com has helped thousands of students to build a solid base in their French speaking since 1999. She is now offering all of her audio courses at 20% off until September 4th. Click here to learn more!

The line above represents two lines meaning: “These thoughts that make us/me live in hell”. The word “qui” in this line is relative pronoun meaning “that”. The verb “vivre” translates to “to live” and “to experience”. Thus, “vivre un enfer could also translate to “to experience hell”.

Est-c’qu’y a que moi qui ai la télé

This line translates to “Am I the only one who has the TV”. “Est-c’qu’y que moi” is a shorting of “Est-ce qu’il n’y a que moi”, meaning “Is it only me”. The form “ne + verb + que” is a way of expressing “only” in French. “Moi” means “me” in French and is a stressed pronoun.

In this line, Stromae is using the metaphor of a television or more precisely TV show for the stream of suicidal thoughts.

Tu sais j’ai mûrement réfléchi

This line translates to “You know I’ve thought about it long and hard”. “Tu sais” means “you know”. There are two ways of saying “to know” in French: savoir and connaître. The adjective mûr translates to both “ripe” and “mature”. As an adverb, mûrement translates to “long and hard”. The verb réflechir means “to think over” or “to reflect”.

Et je sais vraiment pas quoi faire de toi

This line translates to “And I really don’t know that to do (with you)”. In the part of the line, “Je sais vraiment pas”, the “ne” in the negation is omitted. The standard French negation rule requires that “ne…pas” be wrapped around the verb.

The word “quoi” means “what”. The page offers explanations of how to use “quoi”. The word “toi” means “you” in French and is stressed pronoun.

Justement, réfléchir

This line translates to “just think about it”. Justement translates to “just”, “justly” and “rightly”.

C’est bien l’problème avec toi

This line translates to “That’s the precise problem with you”. “C’est le problème avec toi” means “It’s the problem with you”. The word “bien” translates to “well”. However, in the context of this line,bien is used to provide emphasis. Hence, are translation is “precisely the problem”.

Et la chaîne culpabilité?

This line translates to “And the guilt channel”. Culpabilité translates to “guilt”. Feels of guilt are almost almost always associated with depression and suicide.

Mais faut bien s’changer les idées

This line translates to “But you have to take your mind off of it”. Mais means “but” in French. The word “faut” is used in the full expression il faut, which means “it’s necessary to”. The expression, se changer les idées means “to take your mind off something”.

Pas trop quand même

We translated this line loosely to “But not too much”. The literal translation is: “Not too much just the same”. The expression quand même has several translations including “all the same” and “even so”.

Sinon ça r’part vite dans la tête

This line translates to “Otherwise it starts again quickly in your head”. “Sinon” translates to “otherwise” and “if not”. The direct translation of “ça repart vite dans la tête” is “that starts again very fast in the head”.

Et c’est trop tard pour qu’ça s’arrête

This line translates to “And it’s too late to make it stop”. The expression “pour que” means “so that” and requires the usage of the French subjunctive mood.

C’est là qu’j’aimerais tout oublier

This line translates to “That’s where I’d like to forget everything” “Aimerais” is the conditional tense of the verb “aimer” (to like, to love”. The conditional tense is used to express “would” in French. i a tricky word with many usages. While it’s meaning is “there”, it’s often used as a filler word in conversation.

Lyric from song: J'suis pas tout seul à être tout seul (I'm not alone being alone)

L’enfer Lyrics & English Translation

J’suis pas tout seul à être tout seul
Ça fait d’jà ça d’moins dans la tête
Et si j’comptais, combien on est
Beaucoup
Tout ce à quoi j’ai d’jà pensé
Dire que plein d’autres y ont d’jà pensé
Mais malgré tout je m’sens tout seul
Du coup

I’m not alone being alone
At least that’s less in my head
And I counted how many of us there are; a lot
Everything (that) I already thought about
Saying that lots of others have already thought about it
But despite everything I feel all alone
So

J’ai parfois eu des pensées suicidaires
Et j’en suis peu fier
On croit parfois que c’est la seule manière de les faire taire
Ces pensées qui nous font vivre un enfer
Ces pensées qui me font vivre un enfer

Sometimes I have suicidal thoughts
And I’m not proud of that
You think sometimes it’s the only way to shut them up
These thoughts that make us live in hell
These thoughts that make me live in hell

Est-c’qu’y a que moi qui ai la télé
Et la chaîne culpabilité?
Mais faut bien s’changer les idées
Pas trop quand même
Sinon ça r’part vite dans la tête
Et c’est trop tard pour qu’ça s’arrête
C’est là qu’j’aimerais tout oublier
Du coup

Am I the only one who has the TV
And the guilt channel
But you have to take your mind off of it
But not too much
Otherwise it starts again quickly in your head
And it’s too late to make it stop
That’s where I’d like to forget everything
So

J’ai parfois eu des pensées suicidaires
Et j’en suis peu fier
On croit parfois que c’est la seule manière de les faire taire
Ces pensées qui me font vivre un enfer
Ces pensées qui me font vivre un enfer

Sometimes I have suicidal thoughts
And I’m not proud of that
You think sometimes it’s the only way to shut them up
These thoughts that make us live in hell
These thoughts that make me live in hell

Tu sais j’ai mûrement réfléchi
Et je sais vraiment pas quoi faire de toi
Justement, réfléchir
C’est bien l’problème avec toi
Tu sais j’ai mûrement réfléchi
Et je sais vraiment pas quoi faire de toi
Justement, réfléchir
C’est bien l’problème avec toi

You know I’ve thought about it long and hard
And I really don’t know that to do (with you)
Just think about it
That’s the precise problem with you
You know I’ve thought about it long and hard
And I really don’t know that to do (with you)
Just think about it
That’s the precise problem with you

Listen to L’enfer

The official YouTube video for “L’enfer” has over 47 million videos. In the video, Stormae is seen sitting on a chair singing the song alone. As the video progresses, you can see that he’s in mental turmoil as he hits his own head. The camera zooms out on Stromae by the end of the video and he becomes smaller and smaller.

You can also listen to L’enfer on Spotify:

Discover more:

Sign Up For A FREE Trial French Lesson On Skype And Get Instant Access To My French Pronunciation Crash Course.

Get the French Pronunciation Crash Course!

About David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site, FrenchLearner.com, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

Speak Your Mind

*