NEW YORK • Carla Bruni, the French pop star and former first lady of France, last Friday announced an album of English- language covers - including the legendary country ode to husbands, Stand By Your Man.
Her first album in four years, French Touch, will come out on Oct 6 and aims for an English-speaking audience as she interprets well- known songs in her breathy, raspy voice.
She released a first track - a cover of Depeche Mode's Enjoy The Silence, with the English group's electronic style stripped back to an intimate sound more in line with pop standards.
The Italian-French former model, who married then French president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008, told American music magazine Billboard that the album will also include Tammy Wynette's hit Stand By Your Man.
Released in 1968 amid cultural tumult, the country song enraged feminists. Its lyrics include, "Be proud of him/because after all he's just a man".
Asked if the song is about Mr Sarkozy, Bruni told Billboard: "It's a homage to any husband in the world. It's the husband song. It's very macho actually, in a very tender way."
The song returned to controversy during the 1992 United States presidential campaign when would-be first lady Hillary Clinton - later a candidate herself - said of her husband Bill Clinton's dalliances: "I'm not sitting here like some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette."
She said she stayed with her husband out of love and respect.
Wynette, who died in 1998, explained that the song is about accepting men despite their shortcomings.
Bruni in the interview declined to comment on US President Donald Trump - who once claimed to be dating her, which she denied - or new French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte.
"It's hard to give advice without looking pretentious. She looks intelligent and clever. I'm sure she will manage," Bruni said of Mrs Macron. The Macrons "seem to be nice people", she added.
She worked on the album with David Foster, the Canadian producer behind a string of hits by artists including Celine Dion, Chicago and Andrea Bocelli.
Her other covers include Abba's The Winner Takes It All, The Clash's Jimmy Jazz and The Rolling Stones' Miss You.
Bruni, who is said to have dated Rolling Stone Mick Jagger, explained: "I recorded it because it's a great song. I always loved it and we gave it a sort of Latin beat. It really has nothing to do with my friendship with Mick. That was not an affair. It was a friendship."