Préliminaires is a jazz influenced album, inspired by controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq's 2005 novel The Possibility of an Island. Iggy explained to Billboard magazine: "I recognized a lot of myself in this book. It might be because I'm interested in sex, death and the end of the human race. Like Daniel, the book's protagonist, I too have grown weary of a career as an entertainer and I wish for a new life."
A year after reading the book, the Rock veteran was contacted to provide music for Last Words, a documentary about Houellebecq's efforts to adapt his novel for film. Iggy told journalists during a press conference that he used an "old wooden guitar" to write the music that he had in his head whilst staying in his small cabin on the river. He added to Rolling Stone that his original intention was not for it to be an Iggy Pop album but, "as I read scenes in the book, I felt music in my head. I wrote less and less for the movie and started writing an alternative score to the novel." Seven Iggy Pop songs did end up on the documentary.
In a video originally posted on his official website, Iggy described Préliminaires as a "quieter album, with some jazz overtones, because at one point, I just got sick of listening to idiot thugs with guitars banging out crappy music and I've started listening to a lot of New Orleans-era, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton type of jazz."
Préliminaires means "foreplay" in French.
This song is a cover of a popular 1940s song "Autumn Leaves" which Iggy sings in its original French language. Iggy explained to Billboard: "I've wanted to sing 'Autumn Leaves' for a dozen years,' but the rights [of the English adaptation] were too expensive for the movie, so they told me 'If you sing it in French, I think we don't have to pay rights.'"