Two years after setting to music an anthology of English-language poems from the 19th and 20th centuries, Carla Bruni has once again taken up her pen to write a new album of original songs, the first since her inaugural and highly successful 2002 album Quelqu'un m'a dit (Someone Told Me). What immediately strikes you when listening to Comme si de rien n'était is its lush instrumental palette. After recording two CDs with an uncluttered, folk-blues style, the singer explores a wide spectrum of genres ranging from pop to bluegrass, with nods to jazz and flamenco. Bruni's touch, however, is immediately apparent in these compositions that again focus their gaze on emotion. "I've been following the same thread since I started writing songs," she says.
Centred on a core of accompanists who recorded the titles live, Comme si de rien n'était sounds almost like an album recorded by a band. Despite this group aspect, however, the album actually seems more personal than its predecessors. "There are more participants, but the CD is just as much mine as the first two. I don't have the impression at all that my songs were taken away from me and changed", says Bruni. Responsible for the album's sound, producer Dominique Blanc-Francard adorned Bruni's new compositions with rich and varied accents. "When songs come to mind, I take care of their essence; I don't dress them up," explains the singer. Other collaborators include Benjamin Biolay, who did the string arrangement for the song "L'amoureuse," and Julien Clerc, who has collaborated with Bruni for a number of years - having been the first to set to music her lyrics for the album Si j'étais elle (If I were her) - and who composed a superb melody for Bruni's gentle lyrics on "Déranger les pierres."
In addition to the 10 original compositions penned by the songwriter, the album includes a musical adaptation of a poem by French author Michel Houellebecq called "La Possibilité d'une Ile," a transcription of a Lied by German composer Robert Schumann on "Je suis un enfant (I'm a child)" and two songs in a foreign language: "You Belong to Me," an American classic popularized by Bob Dylan, and "Il Vecchio e Il Bambino" by Italian anarchist Francesco Guccini. "English and Italian are ideal languages for singing", says Bruni, "but French is ideal for writing." Many of the words on the album focus on the sensation of passing time. Yet a melancholy tone offsets the lyrics' playful side, lending this album a nice balance. "I'm sombre and rather playful myself," Bruni happily concedes. "I delight in despair."
You Belong To Me
Le Temps Perdu