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Album review: Carla Bruni

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Carla Bruni

Comme Si De Rien N'Etait | 4 stars out of 5

Former Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton dater and current French first lady Carla Bruni's third album can't help but underscore the ­impression that the French are somehow fundamentally different than us (even if the guitar-strumming Mrs. Nicolas Sarkozy is Italian, after all).

Still, the supermodel-turned-chanteuse sings en ­francais on all but one of these diversely diverting tracks — a bittersweet cover of Pee Wee King's You Belong to Me. And it's hard to imagine Laura Bush fitting the time to make such a disarmingly enchanting disc into her social and diplomatic calendar. (Although had Hillary Clinton won the White House, one can imagine saxman Bill keeping busy recording an album of Junior Parker covers.)

It might be to Bruni's benefit that non-Gallic speakers will be unable to discern what she's singing about. (The coy title translates to “As if nothing had happened.”) But with production assistance by Dominique Blanc-Francard and string arrangements from Benjamin Biolay, ­unfailingly ­pretty Bruni-penned Rien tracks such as La Possibilite D'Une Ile (adapted from Michel Houllebecq's novel of the same name), the bluesy Tu Es Ma Came, and the ­autobiographical L'Amoureuse all navigate wistful Euro folk-pop territory with a certain je ne sai quoi, not to ­mention an admirably understated élan that avoids the kitsch factor that spoils so much French pop.

Dan DeLuca, The Philadelphia Inquirer

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