No Promises (Carla Bruni album)

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No Promises
Studio album by Carla Bruni
Released 2007-01-15
Recorded 2006
Genre Folk, blues, country
Language English
Label Naïve
Carla Bruni chronology
Quelqu'un m'a dit
(2003)
No Promises
(2007)
Comme si de rien n'était
(2008)
Singles from No Promises
  1. "Those Dancing Days Are Gone"
    Released: December 2006
  2. "If You Were Coming in the Fall"
    Released: February 2006

No Promises is the second album by the Italian-French singer-songwriter Carla Bruni. It was released in January 2007. While Bruni's début album, Quelqu'un m'a dit, was sung in French; this album was sung in English.

All tracks on the album are adapted by Bruni from poems by deceased authors.

Review[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.0/5 stars[1]
The Observer 4/5 stars[2]
PopMatters (6/10)[3]

"After the runaway success of her charming, folksy first album Quelqu'un M'a Dit, Carla Bruni's sophomore effort takes a more difficult route and sees her setting canonical works by such poets as Yeats and Emily Dickinson to music, often calamitously. W.H. Auden's "At Last the Secret Is Out" offers a case in point. Set to a brisk Jack Johnson-style swinging guitar, the poem becomes stripped of all its meaning: no one word is allowed to stand out, as each line is madly shoehorned into a sensible rhythm, and the wistful, yearning tone of the poem gets lost in the breezy melody of the song. Therein lies the problem. Bruni's blues guitar template is too rigid to allow these words to breathe. The lines "Wrapping that foul body up/In as foul a rag" in Yeats' "Those Dancing Days Are Gone" are delivered almost winsomely, where in fact the word "foul" should be allowed to drag, and to weigh down the rest of the line. Metered verse cannot fit this sort of verse-verse-chorus model. Of course, an album must be judged on its musical merits, and the overall mixture of rhythm and pedal steel guitars, with a touch of harmonica here and there, is a serviceable foil to Bruni's smoky voice. But even here, one would wish for more clarity in the line readings: the breathlessness of her singing means that sentences often fizzle out. Dorothy Parker's stark "Afternoon" is maltreated in this way, as is Emily Dickinson's wonderful poem "I Felt My Life with Both My Hands" -- and the absurd jauntiness of both songs is almost unbearable. The one highlight of the set is the doo wop piano-and-guitar jam on Dickinson's "If You Were Coming in the Fall," which lends itself oddly well to Bruni's sauce. But this is an impersonal set of disparate poems set often unimaginatively to incongruous arrangements. It is a brave failure, but a failure nonetheless."

Track listing[edit]

# Title Lyrics Music
1. "Those Dancing Days Are Gone" W. B. Yeats Bruni
2. "Before the World Was Made" W. B. Yeats Bruni
3. "Lady Weeping at the Crossroads" W. H. Auden Bruni
4. "I Felt My Life With Both My Hands" Emily Dickinson Bruni
5. "Promises Like Pie-Crust" Christina Rossetti Bruni
6. "Autumn" Walter de la Mare Bruni
7. "If You Were Coming in the Fall" Emily Dickinson Bruni
8. "I Went to Heaven" Emily Dickinson Bruni
9. "Afternoon" Dorothy Parker Bruni
10. "Ballade at Thirty-Five" Dorothy Parker Bruni
11. "At Last the Secret Is Out" W. H. Auden Bruni
12. "Those Dancing Days Are Gone (alternate version)"* W. B. Yeats Bruni

* Featuring Lou Reed. Only available on iTunes and through Opendisc.

Charts[edit]

Chart Peak
Austria Album Chart 11[4]
Belgium Album Chart 2[4]
France Album Chart 1[4]
Germany Album Chart 2[4]
Irish Albums Chart 72[5]
Italian Album Chart 11[6]
Portugal Album Chart 6[4]
Sweden Album Chart 55[4]
Swiss Album Chart 1[4]
UK Album Chart 65[4]

End of year charts[edit]

Year Country Chart Rank
2007 Germany IFPI #99 [7]

References[edit]