Carla Bruni | No Promises (Naïve)

cd_bruni.jpgAnd now, international supermodel Carla Bruni has released her debut, which also takes the works of great poets and sets them to music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t think of too many cases where a well-known model has made a successful foray into music. Miranda Lee Richards did it with a charming record called The Herethereafter back in 2001, on which she penned some originals and set a famous poem by William Blake to gorgeous, intuitive music. And now, international supermodel Carla Bruni has released her debut, which also takes the works of great poets and sets them to music.

No Promises begins with Bruni beckoning the listener to "Come let me sing into your ear" (a line from the William Butler Yeats poem "Those Dancing Days Are Gone"), and then, appropriately, she proceeds to do just that. Her soft, sensual voice is mixed upfront and it’s strong enough to do justice to most of the words utilized as the source here. Christina Georgina Rossetti’s "Promise Like Pie-Crust" is rather sassy as sung by Bruni, and benefits from musical details like a shaker in the background and a bright ascending guitar line, while "Autumn" (Walter de la Mare) and "I Went to Heaven" (Emily Dickinson) are both set to a waltz tempo, and ideally matched to Bruni’s smooth, limpid delivery.

This is nice music for drinking wine on a lazy weekend afternoon, and it comes in a lavish package which contains both bios of all the poets featured and some rather sexy photos of Bruni herself (wonder how Yeats and Dorothy Parker would feel about that?). On the latter’s "Ballad at Thirty-Five," Bruni purrs, "This, no song of an ingénue/ This, no ballad of innocence/ This, the rhyme of a lady who/ Followed ever her natural bents." Such moments are a curiously perfect blend of historic prose and a supermodel’s creative self-actualization, connecting women of two completely different generations.

No Promises may be too conceptually dry for some, and it doesn’t have a lot of variety. But in the right mood, this is a more than engaging listen as well as, uh, a model example of how to challenge expectations and do a creative makeover. B | Kevin Renick

RIYL: Marianne Faithfull, Norah Jones, Miranda Lee Richards

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