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Song Stories

“IRM”

Charlotte Gainsbourg | 2009

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."

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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