Carla Bruni

Comme Si de Rien N’Etait

Carla Bruni already was well-known in France when she started dating Nicolas Sarkozy. Italian-born to a wealthy family, she became a supermodel at 19, actress in her 20s and musician in her 30s. But her relationship with Sarkozy, the French president, brought her a new level of fame—and, now that she’s his wife, heightened responsibility. Nontheless, she recently released her third album Comme Si de Rien N’Etait (translation: “As If Nothing Happened”). It’s exquisite. From the opening bars of “Ma Jeunesse”—and particularly on “La Possibilité d’Une Île,” “L’amoureuse” and “Deranger les Pierres”—Bruni transports listeners to her adopted homeland. It evokes the feel of a Parisian café, or the movie Before Sunset. Bruni is a stronger songwriter than singer, yet the vocals work perfectly: unforced, not histrionic tours de force. Comme has one cover, its only song in English, “You Belong to Me”; she put a poem to music for another song (“Possibilité”) and wrote the rest. The First Lady declines to perform in public—understandable, considering the security risk. Thankfully, she continues to share her gift via recording, with an album whose proceeds go to charity and sound brightens the spirit.