Carla You Are My Orgy Too

Saturday, July 12th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture with

Fresh Carla Cover

If the idea of a wife of a head of state releasing a musical album sounds a bit strange, pull up a chair and listen to the sounds of Carla Bruni. Bruni, the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, has just released the first single, L’amoureuse, from her third album, Comme si de rien n’etait (As If Nothing Happened).

For those who don’t know a thing about Madame Sarkozy (if indeed she even took his last name, that libertine minx), here is a quick rundown. She’s an heiress to the Pirelli tire empire, born in Italy, but moved to Paris at the age of 5 with her family to escape kidnapping threats. Goes to boarding school in Switzerland. Returns to Paris to study art and architecture, but at the age of 19, she quits to become a successful model.

About ten years ago, she turned to music and finally, in the last year or so, she met a certain pushy and cranky guy who just happened to be the newly-elected President of France, who was involved in an unhappy marriage with his wife Cecilia. Bruni and Sarkozy married in February in the Elysee Palace after some photos appeared of the two spending Christmas vacation together in Egypt and Jordan and, well, the worldwide media took notice.

The media in Britain followed Bruni closely during a state visit to London in March, gushing that she looked ravishing in a Christian Dior gown, from the British-based John Galliano fashion house. She was deemed young (40), fresh and pleasing to her British hosts. This was not the typical (and stuffy) aristocratic type like Bernadette Chirac with the pearl choker or Anne-Aymone Giscard d’Estaing.

Media types in London and Paris felt, for the moment at least, that Bruni made her husband look good, especially since he has been very unpopular at home. Even before they married, the two were becoming a bit of a spectacle around Paris, but it seemed she was growing into her role as first lady.

Last week, in a publicity tour for her new album (come on, she is the first lady) Bruni invited the press to listen to her first single and the song was posted on her website. It was an ambitious launch, even taking over the TF1 newscast on July 4 in what was the most watched show in France that night.

Then again the last time she and her record company went through kind of thing, she wasn’t living at the Elysee Palace. Then there was the timing. Bruni stayed behind while her husband flew to the G8 summit in Hokkaido, Japan –a bit of a protocol breach, since she could therefore not partake in official functions such as luncheons with the G8 first spouses; Sarkozy would go stag and the hosts in Japan were none too pleased.

That was bad enough, but that was before the press got a hold of Bruni’s new songs and worse –the lyrics to her new album. Writing in the Times of London , Charles Bremner tore into some of her songs, including Ma came (My Junk), which relates sex to being high off Colombian cocaine. (“You are my dope/More lethal than Afghan heroin/More dangerous than Colombian powder”) That one prompted an official protest by Bogota to the French Foreign Ministry. Or these lyrics to Ta tienne (Yours), the one song that has received the most notoriety, in which she seems to be professing her ardor and passion to her hubby, Monsieur le President to most, in somewhat tawdry terms:

et je te donne mon corps, mon ame et mon chrysanthème

car je suis ta tienne

tu es mon seigneur, t’es mon chéri,

t’es mon orgie,
tu es mon carême

tu es ma folie mon amalgame

tu es mon pain béni,
mon prince qui charme

fais gaffe à toi car je suis italienne

je vais décourager les dames

je vais baillonner les belles sirenes

moi qui cherchais toujours les flames

je brûle pour toi comme une paienne

moi qui faisais valser les homes

toute entière à toi je me donne

je suis ta tienne

Which translate in English to:

I give you my body, my soul and my chrysanthemum

For I am Yours

You are my lord, you’re my darling

You’re my orgy
You’re my folly, my mix

You are my blessed bread
My charming prince
I am yours…

Watch out because I am Italian

I am going to discourage the ladies

I will gag the beautiful sirens

I who always sought fire
I am burning for you like a pagan woman

I who made men dance

To you I give myself entirely

I am Yours

Wow. I sure couldn’t imagine Laura Bush or her mother-in-law belting this one out. In tomorrow’s Times of London (the Brits can’t let this one go), Dan Cairns reminds readers that when Bruni discussed the new album a couple of months back, she said that 95% of the lyrics were done before she even met (and married) Sarkozy. What about, he asks, the other 5%? It is still pretty difficult for most to forget that the person she is calling an “orgy” is no one but the President, no matter what she professes, or no matter what she tries to explain to the foaming-at-the-mouth press. Moreover, to believe that no one should read too much into her lyrical phrasings or attempts at poetic imagery just because she is the first lady, is, like the name of her record company, Naïve.

I am not saying that Bruni needs to give up her musical career and attend solely to the social functions of a proper wife of a President, he in “stacked heels” and she in “her now regulation flats”. But this is someone who already came with, let’s say, some baggage when she first laid eyes on her miniature husband. She has said that has had “30 lovers”, that she doesn’t think much of monogamy. By her own admission she has bedded such famous stallions as Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Kevin Costner and –yikes!—Donald Trump.

This isn’t a shrinking violet. Her lyrics are batty and queasy, but in a way that might actually be described as “French”. Maybe the French do get it. Maybe they do see something in this just released and “official” music video (“official” as in the President’s Office?) . What about the voice? While it is very far from the mellifluous Francoise Hardy or the husky-voiced Maurane, Bruni’s voice isn’t the total dregs or pitiful disaster either. Whether she and her songs become a distraction to a public that watches her every move remains to be seen.

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