1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 307

Quelqu’un M’a Dit, by Carla Bruni
Suggested by Peet Denny

In the milk industry, there are peaks and troughs.

You see, cows are predictable creatures. A savvy farmer can tell you his herd’s daily milk yield to within a single bucketful. Cows are also seasonal creatures, in that they produce much more milk in the calving season of spring than they do in the colder winter months. If you were to chart the national milk yield of the herds owned by my employer’s fifteen hundred farmer-owners, you’ll see a classic sine wave.

So yearly milk supply has hills and valleys. Not so milk demand. People are largely predictable in their milk needs, and our retail partners tend to buy on a much flatter yearly profile. And sure, there are small fluctuations – Wimbledon season sees the cream demand rise exponentially, for example – but in general terms, the milk demand is a level horizontal line that bisects the sine curve.

As we guarantee that we’ll purchase every litre of milk from our farmer owners, there are times when we have more milk than is required, and times when we do not have enough. In these times, we hit the commodity market, looking to sell our surplus for the best return or purchase milk from others at the lowest price. This function is called Milk Balancing, and we have whole teams dedicated to flattening those sine supply curves, forecasting our requirements and gamifying the process.

Quelqu’un M’a Dit, by the one-time First Lady of France Carla Bruni, is translated as Someone Told Me. It contains twelve intimate tracks of close and personal acoustic guitar arrangements with Bruni’s breathy and beautiful delivery. It’s my second album of songs by female French singers in the last week, after Album 301’s Ilo Veyou by Camille. These albums represent my entire experience of songs by French women, and it’s hard not to compare the two.

Ilo Veyou and Quelqu’un M’a Dit have some huge similarities. They are both personal and confidential in their sound, with Carla Bruni in particular so close that you can almost feel her breath on your ear. From the opener title track Quelqu’un M’a Dit to the closing La Derniere Minute, there’s such a palpable sense of intimacy that it almost feels uncomfortable. My French is undeveloped, sadly, so I don’t know if the lyric matches the unspoken intent, but I’d be surprised if there was no overlap here.

The biggest difference between Ilo Veyou and Quelqu’un M’a Dit is the balance. Where Camille soared to peaks and ploughed to troughs with her experimental and often impenetrable sine wave of songs, Carla pitches her tracks in a solid bisecting line through the centre. There’s a comforting similarity to everything, which does verge on the repetitive, but it is a beautiful repetition. Unlike milk demand, there are a few small fluctuations, but it’s a very level offering. My personal highlight is L’Excessive, but it’s close across the board. You know what you’re getting here from the very first song.

Quelqu’un M’a Dit, just like Ilo Veyou, gets a creditable 6/10. Like Camille, Carla brings us a beautiful album. However, I feel that if we applied a little Music Balancing between the two, adding intrigue to Carla’s calm and applying balm to Camille’s excesses, we’d have something very special indeed.

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