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This is the title track from French electronic pop singer Charlotte Gainsbourg's third studio album. Charlotte is the daughter of British actress and singer Jane Birkin and French actor/singer Serge Gainsbourg.
The record is a collaboration with American musician Beck, who co-wrote all the song's apart from "Le Chat Du Café Des Artistes." He explained: "I pulled a bunch of songs out. And then I wrote a few, with her in mind, but when we spent time together they changed because I got more of a feeling of where she wanted to go. We got in the studio and I could see all the possibilities."
Gainsbourg presented Beck with her fragmentary lyrics, which he reformed. The French chanteuse told The Observer January 10, 2010 with self-deprecation: "Beck kept pushing me to write, but my father's genius weighs too heavy on me." She then explained exactly what her input was. "Well, he'd start with a rhythm and I'd react. Then, he'd gradually build a song. I came up with a few words and titles," she said, "but mainly I came to him with ideas and directions that I wanted to take. I brought some books: the poetry of Apollinaire, Through the Looking-Glass. Just clues for him, really. We didn't have profound ideas or discussions. He just guessed what I wanted to sing about."
On the album, Gainsbourg is backed by Beck's regular band, comprising drummers Joey Waronker and James Gadson, keyboardist Brian LeBarton, trumpeter David Ralicke and Beck's father, David Campbell, on string arrangements.
The album title was chosen to reflect Gainsbourg's experiences of 2007, when she had surgery following a brain hemorrhage and the hypnotic sounds of the MRI scanner remained with her - "IRM" is French for "MRI". She explained to Mojo October 2009: "I fell water skiing. A few months later I had constant headaches, and doctors found there was blood causing pressure on my brain. I could have died. I had many scans, and the sound of the MRI scanner stuck with me. When Beck and I talked about how I wanted the music to sound, I played him the scanner - I found it on the internet-and said I wanted to incorporate it. I'll never forget that sound."
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