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No Promises Enhanced

4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Enhanced, February 19, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Italian-born/French-raised chanteuse Bruni has written a poignant record establishing her as an undeniably gorgeous new voice to American ears. With two previous records, heralded in her home of Europe, Bruni's current creation is her first English language album to hit US shores via Downtown records. Carla's fascination and appreciation of the language prompted her to make an album comprised of her favorite poems (from Emily Dickinson to WH Auden to William Butler Yeats), interpreting them into delicate and introspective songs. Profound, potent, and imbued with a delicate beauty.

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"Come, let me sing into your ear," purrs Carla Bruni to open her second album, her French/Italian heritage betrayed in a pan-European accent that's as breathy and relaxing as a summer afternoon nap on the Riviera. Though the prospect of a former supermodel's career exploits is sometimes prettier than others (depends if you prefer the Project Runway pronouncements of Heidi Klum or the talk show/tabloid antics of Tyra Banks), Carla Bruni approaches music armed with something of a legitimate pedigree, both her parents having been musicians in their own right. Calling the album No Promises may reflect some intentional lowering of expectations for Bruni's experiment here, setting 11 reverently-chosen lyric poems by the likes of Emily Dickenson, W.B. Yeats, and Dorothy Parker to her own mellow, wispy music and pleasant voice. Where artists like Feist or Keren Ann use spare instrumentation and airy vocals to achieve delicacy and nuance, the compositions on No Promises seem to run together without much to distinguish one from another, and the result is neither offensive nor particularly inspirational. Maybe next time Carla Bruni will inject a little more fire into her belly and add some sparkle to her hushed soundscape. --Ben Heege

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Those Dancing Days Are Gone
  2. Before the World Was Made
  3. Lady Weeping at the Crossroads
  4. I Felt My Life with Both My Hands
  5. Promises Like Pie-Crust
  6. Autumn
  7. If You Were Coming in the Fall
  8. I Went to Heaven
  9. Afternoon
  10. Ballade at Thirty-Five
  11. At Last the Secret Is Out


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 19, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: Downtown Records
  • ASIN: B000SM7QVG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,060 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Carla Bruni, ex model and former love affair of Mick Jagger, is the reincarnation of sensual infatuation, breathy words and purred seduction.
When she first started singing with a frangible but also very enwrapping voice, the French listeners couldn't resist giving Carla as much credit as she would have deserved. "Quelqu'un m'a dit", her first album, released in November 2002, was a bestseller in her adopted country, France. With her new record entitled "No Promises", she maintains her well proved concept, based on the leading acoustic guitar and interspersed variations of harmonising instruments.
She just changed two things which weren't essentially remarkable if we hadn't any understanding of languages. Besides the fact that Carla swapped from the fragile sounding French to the melodically caressing English, she doesn't sing over her own words this time.
The lyrics come from famous poets and they are all distinguished creations from several personalities. Bruni really proved her musical talent though.
All the melodies, which mostly suit and carry the statements of each poem, were composed by the Italian ex supermodel herself.
She's obviously not an eminently blessed compositor, but she improves when it comes to rather simple but effective acoustic tunes, which leave a mark of easiness and subliminal melancholy. On the opener "Those Dancing Days Are Gone"(William Butler Yeats) she uses the guitar like she's talking frolicsomely to a friend.
"If You Were Coming In The Fall" (Emily Dickinson) follows the mentioned example, but it seems a bit inapplicable referred to the poem's depressing theme.
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Format: Audio CD
Auden and Yeats are among the finest English-language poets of the 19th and 20th centuries, endowed with rare insight and sensitivity.
Now W. H. Auden, W. B. Yeats and several others have taken on an unlikely new guise.
Their poems -- along with those by two other Britons, Walter de la Mare and Christina Rossetti, and two Americans, Dorothy Parker and Emily Dickinson -- are likely to enter the Top Ten in Europe.
Four years after her debut album after her first album, "Quelqu'un m'a dit" (Someone told me), which sold two million copies, Carla Bruni, the Italian former fashion supermodel offers a collection of music and poetry : 11 beautiful poems set to Carla Bruni's inspired melodies.
She gives a real personal interpretation of these poems with romanticism, melancholy which form a feeling of loneliness.
The album, "No Promises", has divided music critics between supporters hailing a new departure for Europop and detractors perplexed by haunting English verse half-sung and half-spoken in a sensual voice accompanied by folk guitars.
Although the writers have been set to music before -- the composer Benjamin Britten collaborated with Auden, and the singer Joni Mitchell has drawn on Yeats's verse, for example -- Bruni's work is a novelty.
In France , some newspapers wrote rave revues.
I personally like it.
It's different,it's delicate, it's elegant.
Have your say !
1 Comment 27 of 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
This popular French/Italian singer delivers her first English language CD and it is a beauty, setting some American and British poetry to music in a manner in which the most accurate description is "simply lovely." With a honey-smoked voice like a young Marianne Faithfull, the songs exude a peaceful mood like being the last couple on the dancefloor in the backyard of a Southern mansion on a magnolia-scented sultry summer's night. The soulful, languid vocals build up a momentum as the CD moves along and, as a whole, are a lot less sleepy than Norah's latest effort. Try "I Felt My Life with Both My Hands," "Promises Like Pie-Crust," "If You Were Coming In The Fall," "Ballade at the Thirty-Five" and "At Last The Secret Is Out" and taste the musical delicacy that is Carla Bruni.
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Format: Audio CD
I truly do not understand how anyone can give less than a 5 star rating for this album. I find it amazing that Carla Bruni took these poems and made them into intriguing, sexy songs. Her voice is so unique and I just cannot say enough about the greatness of "No Promises." When I've had a bad or stressful day, I put this album on and I am immediately calmed. I can't wait for her next album and hopefully she'll release another one in English. I'm extremely surprised that "No Promises" did not pick up as much attention in the U.S. as it deserved.
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I saw this CD advertised in the windows of several record stores in Amsterdam. Bruni is a model-turned-singer, and here she's interpreting poetry as music. It comes across nicely, in chanteuse style...nice, light, and enjoyable. Great music for a dinner party, methinks.
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While I authentically respect Carla Bruni's prowess as a musician (try finding her amazing rendition of "Deranger les pierres" with Julien Clerc on video), her second album remains an oddity even in her reasonable musical arsenal. While her debut album remains to this day a breakthrough of sorts (remember this was before the general public even knew her much), this CD seems like a weird experiment that doesn't quite go anywhere.

Despite being a listener of mood music and concept albums such as this - Isobel Campbell being a prime mascot of the genre - I was half expecting some sort of masterpiece when I first got it. However, it has to be said that of all her albums, Carla is the most monotonous on this one. Her husky, breathy voice is reduced to a flat drill here, and it looks like shes actually struggling with her English language lyrics.

"Those Dancing Days are Gone" was the first single, and easily the most listenable thing here. However, once you reach Track 4, a certain sameness creeps in, and it all goes downhill very, very quickly. I think the problem is not the song selection, but rather the lyrics of these great texts being enunciated with incorrect syllable stress almost everywhere - Carla doesn't let these songs breathe - its evident shes laboriously reading off a page, and that isn't pretty.

Unlike Susheela Raman who took ancient Sanskrit texts, set them to blues and jazz, and in the process won huge fans from both the art circuit and the mainstream, Carla's experiment here is just an experiment. Its not very listenable.
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