by Charlotte Gainsbourg
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A lot happened to Charlotte Gainsbourg between the release of 5:55 and IRM. Along with appearing in I'm Not There as one of Bob Dylan's wives, a 2007 water skiing accident pushed her brain to the side and filled her skull with blood, a condition that should have killed or paralyzed her. After emergency surgery, Gainsbourg was fine physically, but still convinced she could die at any moment, undergoing several MRI scans to prove she was all right. She also took one of her most daring roles as an actress, appearing in Lars Von Trier's uncompromising film Antichrist as a violently deranged, grieving mother who disfigures herself and her husband. This mix of fragility and boldness is also the heart of IRM, Gainsbourg's collaboration with Beck. As with 5:55, which featured Nigel Godrich, Jarvis Cocker, and Air, her choice of collaborators is perfect, but the results couldn't be more different. Where her previous album was ethereal and ephemeral, IRM is exciting and eclectic. Beck and Gainsbourg bring out the best in each other: His songwriting and production are so sympathetic and wide-ranging that he's like a director guiding Gainsbourg to inspired performances. Meanwhile, she brings an emotionality and presence to Beck's flights of fancy that make them more grounded than they would have been as his own songs. IRM still offers plenty of beautiful French atmosphere, but it's more mussed than on 5:55: The way the strings turn from romantic to a little sinister on the slinky "Le Chat Du Café Des Artistes" is decidedly jolie laide, while "La Collectioneuse" is as eerie as it is lovely. However, the album delivers much more than looser versions of where Gainsbourg has been before. IRM's title track is a hallucinatory meditation on Gainsbourg's post-surgery experiences that incorporates the sound of MRI scans (IRM is the French abbreviation of MRI) with a tribal, distorted beat and detached vocals that are closer to Broadcast than any of her previous music. Elsewhere, she dives into deceptively simple folky pop with "Me and Jane Doe" while "Trick Pony"'s breathy sexuality and strutting beats feel like Beck repaying the favor of sampling Serge Gainsbourg's "Melody Nelson" on Sea Change's "Paper Tiger." The pair gets more daring as IRM unfolds, with Beck casting Gainsbourg as a world-weary siren on "Dandelion"'s bluesy shuffle, and a sneering rebel on the brittle "Greenwich Mean Time," which makes more noise than all of the songs on 5:55 put together. Gainsbourg's mental and physical healing process unites the album's experiments, making them personal. "Heaven Can Wait'"s joyful stomp is self-explanatory, but when she sings "you could learn to crawl where you used to walk" on "Vanities," or "It doesn't take a miracle to raise a heart from the dead" on "Time of the Assassins," it adds even more depth. Playful, heartfelt, and unexpected, IRM gives Gainsbourg's music a new lease on life.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/26/2010
Label: Elektra / Wea
UPC: 0825646842476
catalogNumber: 522709
Rank: 137573

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Charlotte Gainsbourg   Primary Artist,Flute,Piano,Vocals
Beck   Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Percussion,Piano,Keyboards,Marimbas,Vocals,keyboard bass
Alex Acuña   Percussion,Track Performer,Musician
David Campbell   Conductor,Track Performer,Musician
Luis Conte   Track Performer,Musician
Jason Falkner   Acoustic Guitar,Track Performer,Musician
James Gadson   Drums,Track Performer,Musician
Greg Kurstin   Track Performer,Musician
David Ralicke   Trombone,Saxophone,Track Performer,Musician
Matt Sherrod   Drums,Track Performer,Musician
Joey Waronker   Percussion,Drums,Track Performer,Musician
Justin Meldal-Johnsen   Percussion,Track Performer,Musician
Drew Brown   Bass,Strings,Keyboards
Matt Mahaffey   Banjo,Track Performer,Musician
Matt Demeritt   Tenor Saxophone,Track Performer,Musician
Monique McGuffin   Harp
Brian Lebarton   Synthesizer,Bass,Percussion,Piano,Celeste,Drums,Marimbas,Tambourine,Track Performer,Musician
Hedi Slimane   Track Performer,Musician
Chris Bautista   Trumpet,Track Performer,Musician
Bram Inscore   Bass,Celeste,Track Performer,Musician
Timothy Young   Track Performer,Musician
Lulu Gainsbourg   Track Performer,Musician
Yvan Attal   Track Performer,Musician
Paul Livingstone   Track Performer,Musician
Monique McDuffin-Newman   Track Performer,Musician
Christopher B. Lea   Track Performer,Musician
Ben Attal   Drums,Track Performer,Musician
Alice Attal   Talking,Track Performer,Musician

Technical Credits

Beck   Composer,Producer,Engineer,drum programming
David Campbell   String Arrangements
Michel Robidoux   Composer
Jean-Pierre Ferland   Composer
Charlotte Gainsbourg   Composer
Guillaume Apollinaire   Composer
Drew Brown   Engineer,String Arrangements,drum programming
Darrell Thorp   Engineer
Dean Nelson   Engineer
Brian Lebarton   drum machine
Nathalie Canguilhem   Art Direction

Customer Reviews

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IRM 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Pink_Cuppah More than 1 year ago
This CD is truly a great effort made by both Beck and Charlotte Gainsbourg. It is really unique, and a treat to hear what these artists sound like together. You can definitely hear Beck's influence on this album as it is much more energetic than Charlotte's 5:55. Very good indeed! One of the few well made/produced CDs of 2010!
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