The new First Lady of French pop

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Last August No Promises, the third album (and first English-language collection) by French pop singer Carla Bruni, was quietly released in this country--Downtown Records made it available as a digital download through iTunes and Barnes & Noble had an exclusive deal to sell a physical CD. (Naive Records issued it in France in January 2007.)

It's a lovely record, with Bruni setting poems by the likes of William Butler Yeats, Emily Dickinson, W.H. Auden, and Dorothy Parker to breezy, gentle melodies of her own creation. The music, despite its English lyrics, has all the hallmarks of contemporary French chanson--breathy, somewhat dramatic delivery, languorous melodies, and a near-total absence of anything upbeat. But though Bruni has been popular in her homeland for a few years now, the record made no impact whatsoever here. In fact, it was scheduled for a general stateside release in October, and the date came and went.

Yesterday I got a press release informing me that No Promises will finally get that release (though the word "finally" wasn't used) on February 19. I don't think it's entirely a coincidence that this announcement comes on the heels of an eight-day period during which Bruni was mentioned in the New York Times four times without one reference to the forthcoming release. Of course, Bruni is not only a former supermodel, she's also the fiancee of French president Nicolas Sarkozy (or, reportedly, his new wife). Yes, Sarkozy has only been divorced from Cecilia Ciganer-Albeniz since October, and he didn't meet Bruni till November, but who am I to judge. Getting married to a head of state sure makes for good publicity--too bad so few of them are single.

Today's playlist:

Frank Bretschneider, Rhythm (Raster-Noton)
Liars, Liars (Mute)
Pan Sonic, Katodivaihe (Blast First Petite)
Tony Oxley & Derek Bailey, The Advocate (Tzadik)
Merzbow & Carlos Giffoni, Synth Destruction (Important)

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