New York (AFP) - Carla Bruni, the French pop star turned first lady, on Friday announced an album of English-language covers -- including the legendary country ode to husbands, "Stand By Your Man."
Bruni's first album in four years, "French Touch," will come out on October 6 and aims at reaching an English-speaking audience as she interprets well-known songs with her breathy yet 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 for an intimate sound more in line with pop standards.
The Italian-born singer, who married Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008 while he was president of France, told US music magazine Billboard that the album will also include Tammy Wynette's hit "Stand By Your Man."
Released in 1968 amid cultural tumult around the world, the country song -- the lyrics include, "Be proud of him / because after all he's just a man" -- enraged feminists with its expectation of traditional roles.
Asked if the song was about 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 presidential campaign when 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 man like Tammy Wynette."
Clinton said she stayed with her husband out of love and respect. Wynette, who died in 1998, also explained the song as an acceptance of men despite their shortcomings.
Bruni in the interview declined to comment on US President Donald Trump -- who once claimed, to her denials, to be dating her -- 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 Brigitte, saying the Macrons "seem to be nice people."
Bruni worked on the album with David Foster, a Canadian producer behind a string of soft-rock hits by artists including Celine Dion and Chicago, as well as works by Italian opera crossover star Andrea Bocelli.
Other covers include "Jimmy Jazz," the tale of an enterprising criminal off punk greats The Clash's classic album "London Calling."
Bruni said she wanted to take the song "in a feminine direction."