The song title is a French nickname for someone who is seen as all dressed up but still lacking grace and manners. It is widely interpreted as a thinly veiled attack on French president Francois Hollande, in which Bruni mocks his "sovereign air." However, the singer denied to UK newspaper The Sunday Telegraph he is the titular bird. "No," Bruni insisted, "le pingouin is anyone unpleasant, aggressive, badly brought up, we all have our penguins."
"Actually, children really like Le Pingouin, it's like a sort of nursery rhyme," she added. "The album is a sort of tribute, not to the grandiose lyric creations of Brel or Ferré, but to the little jewels you also find in French chanson."