Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 13:38 UK

Can Bruni be first lady of pop?

Carla Bruni now (left) and performing in 2004
The singer-songwriter will be hoping the album repeats her early success

By Liam Allen
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Frenzied media coverage has followed the whirlwind relationship of Carla Bruni and husband French President Nicolas Sarkozy at every turn.

Newspapers and television stations around the world have been captivated by the grace and elegance of the Italian-born former top model.

But little, outside of French-speaking countries, is known of the 40-year-old's singing career despite 2003 debut album Quelqu'un m'a dit (Someone Told Me) - a minimalist folky affair - selling two million copies.

Last year's No Promises, which set the words of English poets to original music, sold a disappointing 380,000 copies.

Largely self-penned third album Comme si de rien n'etait (As If Nothing Had Happened) - her first since becoming Sarkozy's first lady - is released in mainland Europe on Friday and in the UK on Monday.

Here is a guide to the stand-out tracks:

L'AMOUREUSE (WOMAN IN LOVE)

L'amoureuse opens with a string quartet motif every bit as elegant as the model-turned chanteuse before breaking into a catchy flamenco-style guitar strum.

The streets are gardens, I dance on the sidewalks
Translated lyrics

Bruni has said that she first had the idea for the song before she met President Sarkozy.

"But would I have finished it if I hadn't fallen in love?" she touchingly added.

The line "the streets are gardens, I dance on the sidewalks", however, may have lost something in translation.

TU ES MA CAME (YOU ARE MY DRUG)

An atmospheric love song punctuated by bluesy acoustic guitar licks.

With the release of this album, Mr Sarkozy, as his country's president, was presumably hoping his wife would steer clear of controversial subject matter.

He may have been anxious, then, when he first heard the lyrics of this song, which translate as "you are my drug, more deadly than Afghan heroin, more dangerous than white Colombian [cocaine]".

Any such anxiety would have been justified when a diplomatic row was threatened after Colombia's foreign minister Fernando Araujo took offence at the "very painful" lyrics.

TA TIENNE (YOURS)

Ta tienne, a funky flute-led affair, is another song that appears to be about Bruni's current situation.

Mick Jagger
Mick Jagger is reportedly among Carla Bruni's former loves

"I, who used to make men dance, I give my whole self to you," say the lyrics.

High-profile men who she has reportedly "made dance" in the past include Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger.

"Let them curse me, let them damn me - I don't give a stuff," she continues.

One in the eye for the cynics there then.

YOU BELONG TO ME

This standard has been covered by a multitude of artists - including Patsy Cline, Bob Dylan and, erm, Rick Astley - since it was first an international hit for singer Jo Stafford in 1952.

Unfortunately, when singing in English, Bruni's usual sexy and wispy tones come across as thin and reedy.

Mispronunciations including "just remember 'til your dream appear" do nothing to make up for this.

All of which could explain why last album No Promises - sung solely in English - flopped.

JE SUIS UNE ENFANT (I AM A CHILD)

Je suis une enfant cleverly adapts composer Robert Schumann's well-known piano piece Scenes d'enfant into a quasi glam-rock ballad.

As difficult as it may sound, given that description, the song has Bruni sounding sexier than anywhere else on the album.

The fact that she is singing in French undoubtedly helps, if the previously-mentioned You Belong To Me is anything to go by.

Mr Sarkozy, however, will be less than enamoured that her sensuous timbre apparently intones another reference to former conquests.

"Still a child, despite my 40 years, despite my 30 lovers," she sings.




SEE ALSO
Bruni braced for album reaction
09 Jul 08 |  Entertainment
Sarkozy admits he made mistakes
25 Apr 08 |  Europe
Nude image of Carla Bruni sold
11 Apr 08 |  Europe

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