Carla Bruni

Not the least astonishing moment of President Barack Obama’s recent trip to Europe (and for my more serious thoughts on that diplomatic voyage, click here) was when Michelle Obama met Carla Bruni and appeared her peer in every way, not at all outclassed. Ms. Bruni, of course, is the Italian-born French model and chanteuse who last year married French President Nicolas Sarkozy and, soon after, dazzled, nay seduced, every world leader she met at diplomatic soires. Mrs. Obama’s one-upmanship in London in no way shoves Ms. Bruni aside—the pairing marked, more, the reemergence of a French-American cultural entente, and we are all the headier for it.

I first saw Ms. Bruni sing on David Letterman’s show a month or so ago, when she was in the States promoting her new CD, Comme Si de Rien N’tait (As If It Never Happened). She was so charming and elegant, yet so frisky—OK, she was such a knock-out—that she had Dave stumbling and sent me to order her disc from amazon. (I must not have been the only one, since, I noticed that it was ranked #25 on the U.S. pop charts, even though, except for one song, the album is sung entirely in French).

I’ve listened to this album several times since then, and even without visual accompaniment (the photos on the CD jacket are fuzzy and obscure), it’s a delight. Her voice is breathy without being too breathy; she keeps the melody, takes it on the occasional unexpected excursion, without making a big deal of it; she exudes a furtive passion, an insouciant sensuality. Her band is lively in a cabaret sort of way, the arrangements have lots of neat hooks, and the sound quality is very good.

Lee's picture

Michelle was thoroughly outclassed by Carla. This does not mean she was not liked, which is an entirely different thing. Her wardrobe was all wrong, too contrived and looked so awkward on her. Let's face it, she was liked because her real competition was not Bruni; it was previous US First Ladies who have been a particularly sorry sight for almost half a century (since Jackie). Frumpy provincial women who would have passed totally unnoticed otherwise, and rightly so. Unlike them Michelle is tall, young and friendly. But classy? No. Lauren Bacall was classy and Jackie could fake classy quite well.

Zeb's picture

As far as looks and dress sense are concerned, I would agree that Mrs. Sarkozy far outclasses Mrs. Obama.However, as far as character is concerned (which is what counts), Ms. Bruni's very 'colourful' past is very unclassy. Mrs. Obama wins this one by a very very long margin.

ivan's picture

Who would have thought that Carla Bruni strongest asset is her voice? - Absolutely brilliant,although the lyrics and the music itself are pretty ordinary, at least from my point of view. Excellent sound quality though. Thanks