Some Little French Songs are causing a little French controversy, as former first lady Carla Bruni’s new album hits stores tomorrow. In it, Bruni sings about her bohemian lifestyle while dating Mick Jagger in “At Keith and Anita’s Place,” takes political jabs and her husband’s presidential successor in “The Penguin” and sings Sarkozy’s praises in “Mon Raymond.”
In “The Penguin,” Bruni uses a French nickname for someone who is seen as all dressed up but still lacking grace and manners. The song is widely interpreted as a thinly veiled attack on current president Francois Hollande, though Bruni has alternately admitted and denied he is the titular bird.
She mocks his “sovereign air.” “He takes on the airs of a king, but I know the penguin does not have the manners of a lord,” read the lyrics. Bruni was widely said to feel slighted when Hollande skipped the customary walk with the departing couple as they exited Elysee Palace, instead staying in the garden to pose for photos. “Hey penguin, you look all alone in your garden,” she sings. “If one day you cross my path, I’ll teach you to kiss my hand.”
The album also includes the song “At Keith and Anita’s Place,” in which the former model talks about a dreamy day with Jagger, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and his former girlfriend, Anita Pallenberg. “Someone is rolling a joint. Oh no! I don’t smoke. We’re at Keith and Anita’s place.”
The album’s release comes as her husband is under political fire for his campaign finance activities. A formal investigation was opened on March 21, the same night Bruni made an appearance at the Echo Music Awards in Germany. She still took to the stage and, in a show of support, sang Mon Raymond, a tribute to Sarkozy. She calls her husband “sentimental but complex,” “electric,” and sings: “Whatever fools say, Raymond is dynamite.”
Sarkozy has been placed under formal investigation for claims he took financial advantage of impaired L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt during his 2007 campaign. Bettencourt, the richest woman in the world with an estimated €17 billion ($21.7 billion) fortune, has suffered from Alzheimer’s since 2006 and was placed under family guardianship in 2011.
In interviews this week to promote the album, Bruni addressed the accusations and dismissed the accusations as “unthinkable.”
This is Bruni’s fourth album and first since 2008. She put her musical career on hold during Sarkozy’s time in office and while she gave birth to daughter Giuliana in 2011. “Little French Songs” will be released April 1.