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Irm


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlotte gives Beck a new voice
Chalotte Gainsbourg has had a rollercoaster of a life since the release of her last album, 5:55 in 2006. In 2007, she played Claire, a French artist who became one of Bob Dylan's wives in the movie I'm Not There. The same year, she fell victim to a water skiing accident that violently shook her brain and could have easily paralyzed or killed her. After undergoing...
Published on January 30, 2010 by J. Loudon

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3.0 out of 5 stars Soundtrack of a Nightmare
I bought this because I read it was inspired by Gainsbourg's own hospitalization for an aneurysm (from which she thankfully recovered). Now I can hardly bear to play it. It fills me with anxiety. Not that it is bad, just that it so effectively captures the fear she must have experienced at that time.
Published 9 months ago by belqis


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlotte gives Beck a new voice, January 30, 2010
By 
J. Loudon (Nashville, TN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Irm (Audio CD)
Chalotte Gainsbourg has had a rollercoaster of a life since the release of her last album, 5:55 in 2006. In 2007, she played Claire, a French artist who became one of Bob Dylan's wives in the movie I'm Not There. The same year, she fell victim to a water skiing accident that violently shook her brain and could have easily paralyzed or killed her. After undergoing emergency surgery, Charlotte was miraculously fine, but she had numerous M.R.I. scans afterwards to verify her stable condition. The title of this new album, the French term for M.R.I., clearly reflects Charlotte's mindset as this new album was produced.

Although Charlotte is the sole vocalist on all but one of the tracks on IRM, a great deal of the creative control on this solo record, including the majority of the songwriting credit, is given to Beck Hansen, commonly known as Beck. From the first measure of "Master's Hands," the lead track on IRM, Beck's influence is easily recognizable. Gainsbourg had already seemed to channel Beck's Mellow Gold on 5:55, but IRM captures the more experimental and percussive side of Beck heard on "Modern Guilt," Beck's most recent release.

The title track, "IRM", cleverly uses sample sounds of a running M.R.I. machine as the lyrics "Take a picture, what's inside? Ghost image in my mind" are sung by an intentionally emotionless Gainsbourg. While references to her life after the accident are not always so blatantly present, they can often be found hidden within a verse or chorus; Beck's obvious attempt to keep the music relative to the artist singing. The only track on which Beck does sing, Heaven Can Wait, he and Charlotte share nearly every word with a perfect balance. Neither Beck nor Gainsbourg are particularly gifted vocalists, but their lack of refinement seems to give an additional honesty to the words being sung.

It seems strange to call this a Charlotte Gainsbourg solo album with Beck's influence reigning over every last aspect of the work, but what started as a small recording session between the two blossomed into an incredible success. Charlotte's last record, certified platinum in France, never achieved much success in the US, but with a little help from the cunning king of musical imagery, I have no doubt IRM will finally provide her with the recognition she deserves.

Similar Artists: Beck, Regina Spektor

Track Suggestion: IRM
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM, January 26, 2010
This review is from: Irm (Audio CD)
The best way for me to describe IRM is as the long-awaited follow-up to Sea Change/Mutations-style Beck, only sans the Beck. I mean, Beck did most of the writing, recording, and producing, but his singing on the record is sparse. Like with Sea Change, Beck's father provides excellent string arrangements, and they really add to the chill atmosphere of the album. IRM is sleek and sexy, and the best example of the album's mood is in "La Chat du Café des Artistes," a rhythmic French number that very obviously brings to mind Sea Change's excellent "Paper Tiger." This is a very cool record, and I really got into it after only one listen, which isn't very common for me, but I think if you give it a shot, you'll see what a mean. Charlotte has a beautiful, sultry voice that she marries perfectly with Beck's production style. This is a record for any Beck fan and anyone still waiting for a new Beck album in the vein of Mutations and Sea Change. Get it while it's hot and steamy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars... Winning album from start to finish, February 8, 2010
This review is from: Irm (Audio CD)
Charlotte Gainsbourg is a well-known actress, but with a serious musical legacy, being the daughter of Serge Gainsbourg, the French music icon. She's made a couple of interesting albums over the years, her 2006 album "5:55" being quite good. For her new album, Charlotte enlisted the help of Beck, and his presence looms large over this album.

"IRM" (13 tracks; 42 min.) sound to me like a new Beck album, sung by Charlotte, not that I'm complaining. Beck wrote 12 of the 13 tracks on here, and the songs contain the quirkiness you would expect from Beck, but it must be said that Beck wrote the songs just perfectly to Charlotte's personality. The first 2 tracks set the table, "Master's Head" and "IRM" are just fun, dance-along tracks. Next comes "Le Chat du Cafe des Artistes", a moody tune with Charlotte's sultry French lyrics, just great. "In the End" is a short 2 min. interlude that plays perfectly to Charlotte's vocals. "Heaven Can Wait" is a great little song that should find airplay if commercial mainstream radio was any good still (which of it isn't). Most of the songs are pretty short, they make their musical point and move on, and that's just peachy with me. "Vanities" is as haunting as you'll ever hear. "Trick Pony" is a hard-charging short tune that I just love. The album closes with two of its best tunes, the quirky upbeat "Voyage" and the closer "La Collectionneuse" which sums up the album perfectly (and at 5 min. is the longest track on here).

What a fantastic album this is from start to finish. Charlotte is scheduled to play Coachella in April, and this is surely one of the most anticipated sets for me. If you are on the fence about this album, but like Beck, by all means, buy this, you will not be disappointed. If you wonder where you can hear this album, check out WOXY (BAM! The Future of Rock and Roll), the internet-only station that brings the best indie-music in the country and where this album continues to be in heavy rotation as we speak. Meanwhile, "IRM" is highly recommended!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite Simply Impressive, February 23, 2010
By 
Mark Abrahamsen (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Irm (Audio CD)
I've been a huge fan of Beck of a long, long time, I have nearly every single Beck record (I don't have the counterpart to One Foot In The Grave, yet). So, when I heard he was producing this record, that got me interested. Just her alone is impressive, but his part in it makes all that much better. I think her other records are very much worth getting as well, I wish I'd heard of her sooner. Both are incredibly innovative by themselves, the pairing makes this record doubly artistic. I'll definately be listening to this one for years to come.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Combination - Sheer Bliss, January 27, 2010
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This review is from: Irm (Audio CD)
Album in hand for a mere few hours and I know the love I feel right now will be mine for a very long time. I have heard rumors of this project (Charlotte & Beck) for months and have waited with breath that is baited. NOT DISAPPOINTED. Charlotte's voice is one of the most beautiful I've ever heard and Beck is my living legend, so be warned the combination is deadly. Charlotte has FINE taste in collaborators, between AIR and Beck, she has my attention.

Master's Hand is LOVELY and the perfect start to this enchanting album. The string arrangement of the too short In The End is exquisite. The hammer beat piano driven Heaven Can Wait is reminiscent of a Beatles tune with a unique twist. Time of the Assassins is deadly beautiful, possibly my favorite. Greenwich Mean Time screams Beck... SCREAMS.

All in all you will hear the Beck/Charlotte collaboration and if you like/respect either, you will NOT be disappointed. Oh, so happy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing record, same old last name, January 28, 2010
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This review is from: Irm (Audio CD)
The curse of actors turned singers has become too much of a cliche to even deal with it seriously. The long list of failed attempts should easily kill the initial bravado of future hopefuls, but in this case I am damn glad Charlotte Gainsbourg overlooked it.
It is impossible to imagine that someone who conveyed such deeply-rooted anger in Antichrist can sound so sweet. Her artistic lineage is no surprise to anyone: the daughter of French music/actor Serge Gainsbourg and British actress Judy Campbell, has forged a career based on strong film performances, hand picked musical collaborations and the angelic charisma that gives the fairy touch to everything she does.

Where her last record 5:55 was soft, almost a whisper all the way through, thanks in great deal to Air and Jarvis Cocker's production, IRM opens up the palette to more upbeat music and indie pop experimental sounds, guided by the hand of Beck.
Mister Hansen's presence is tangible in every little corner of the record, but it is Charlotte's voice that drives the tracks supernova.

First single Heaven can wait has them singing together backed up by a contagious rhythm and horn section, and a video that has exploded around the net. The most obvious reference to Melody de Nelson comes in Me and Jane Doe, with those ghostly back vocals that the very Beck made ubiquitous in the gripping Sea change. The strings are what encompass the general tone of IRM, providing at times the pace it needs to avoid monotony.

Topics move back and forth between the references to the title (the French translation for the medical term MRI) and more earthly themes, which gives the record a spacey and unresolved feel. The record merely reaches the 45 minute mark, but its effect is lasting. It feels bigger, more welcoming than 5:55, but does not disappoint a bit in lyrics or performance. She succeeds at making it HER record despite the aforementioned guiding light.

Trick pony is the most aggressive rock track, and its translation to live shows is impressive. The many layers of instruments and vocal arrangements encase her sultry voice and make it a delightful meal to savor on repeat. With Voyage and La collectionneuse she goes back to singing in French, which serves as an adequate closing for an album that will certainly expose her to a wider audience but still retains the mysterious shade that colors her different.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars french, December 6, 2012
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This review is from: Irm (Audio CD)
modern soft and amazingly sensual. watch the videos on utube. her voice is like an irish fairy, magical and slyvan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irm, March 17, 2012
This review is from: Irm (Audio CD)
I bought this album after briefly listening to it. I took a chance and purchased it. I am really happy that I bought it. I enjoy the album very much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange Loveable Music, January 29, 2010
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This review is from: Irm (Audio CD)
Irm is an unusual album with a lot of variety. It is probably not for everyone, there is a strong mix of French and English (one song is in French, two others are a mix of French and English, and the remainder in English). Two songs might get radio play, Trick Pony (recently performed on Letterman) and Greenwich. The remainder of the CD is smoky, unusual, sensual, and nowhere near mainstream.

It's only natural to compare Charlotte to her mother, Jane Birkin, and father, Serge Gainsbourg. Charlotte has strong hints of her mother's voice, soft and very sexy. I heard hints of Ex-Fan de Sixties in a few songs (that is a very good thing -Ex Fan des Sixties). She has the sharp edge and twist of phrase of her father. Her music is more polished and easier to digest than her parent's. If you are familiar with Jane Birkin, and like her music; simply purchase this CD, you will not be disappointed.

The album ranges from very nice acoustic guitar and her voice, to full orchestra, to hard edged rock a la Dan Auerbach / Black Keys Rubber Factory. The music is progressive at times and then a throwback to the seventies John Sebastian. But mostly the music is alternative rock / acoustic. The CD is a huge pleasure from start to finish.

An accomplished actress and singer, she is the French version of Zooey Deschanel. Charlotte has much sharper edges singing and acting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck - like nickels on a dime., January 29, 2010
By 
CCMOA (Lynchburg, VA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Irm (Audio CD)
There is a lot of history behind these two artists (check the other reviews). This is a seamless collaboration to satisfy both fan bases and bring in new fans, as well. If you are looking for new pop music that is intelligent and grown-up, but still cool, you aren't going to do any better than this. It's the first great album of 2010. This thing is distinctive, diverse, catchy, and consistently good from beginning to end. Highly recommended.
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Irm
Irm by Charlotte Gainsbourg (Audio CD - 2010)
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