Fashioned to mimic the sound of a magnetic resonance imaging or MRI, "IRM" (the French designation for the brain scan) grew out of Gainsbourg’s love of the sound of the clickety-clack of medical machinery. The IRM album project also marked the fulfillment of two goals for the singer: to document a traumatic experience, and to record an album with Beck. Though her co-creator and producer didn’t necessarily know the details of her water-skiing accident and resulting cerebral hemorrhage (which lead to the IRM of the song's title), he somehow knew how to handle the material. "Beck had a way of guessing what I was thinking and feeling without me telling him," said Gainsbourg. "We never discussed these things explicitly."