La Collectioneuse
By: Beck Hansen, Guillaume Apollinaire

Written by: Beck Hansen, Guillaume Apollinaire

  1. La Collectioneuse (5:16)
    Available on IRM.
    David Campbell: Conductor, String Arrangement
    James Gadson: Drums
    Drew Brown: Effects, Keyboard / Synthesizer
    Beck Hansen: Keyboard Bass, Producer, Vocals (Background)
    Brian Lebarton: Percussion, Piano
    Charlotte Gainsbourg: Piano, Vocals
La Collectioneuse [Version (a)]:

I collect many things
And keep them all close to me
To the ceiling from the floor
I'm tripping on them constantly

Pixelated faces play
On a blown-out TV screen
Footage from a camera
These days I'm fast-forwarding

I see a pattern start to form
Over time it's surfacing
Like a face I recognize
It never says anything

I add up all these moments
In a long narrow ledger
Decimals of pains
Integers of pleasure

The sum of all these parts
I don't know how to measure
They just keep on adding up
They just keep on adding up

The collector
The collectioneuse
The collector
The collectioneuse
The collector
The collectioneuse
The collector
The collectioneuse


J'ai cueilli ce brin de bruyere
L'automne est morte souviens-t'en
Nous ne nouse verrons plus sur terre
Odeur du temps Brin de bruyere
Et souviens toi que j'attends

J'ai eu le courage de regarder en arriere
Le cadavre de mes jours

Que lentement passent les heures
Comme passe un enterrement
Tu pleureras l'heure ou tu pleures
Qui passera trop vitement
Comme passent toutes les heures

Et toi mon coeur pourquoi bats-tu
Comme un guetteur melancolique
J'observe la nuit et la mort

Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
Les jours s'en vont je demeure
The Song:

"La Collectioneuse" is a song on Charlotte Gainsbourg's album, IRM. Beck wrote and produced the entire album.

The song builds from a circular piano riff turning into a dramatic orchestra section (which reminds me of "Lonesome Tears" in a way). At the end of the song, Charlotte reads the words to poems by Guillaume Apollinaire, a French poet. He only lived from 1880-1918. The lines here are from the poems "Alcools" and "Le Guetteur Mélancolique."

In one interview, Charlotte talked about how Beck and she wrote songs together. She claimed he did all the lyrics, but she would bring ideas and things. "I could show him poems by Apollinaire. I was searching for things. I was 'a collectionneuse' - he saw me with bags full of papers, notebooks, books. I was a bit panicked, wondering, 'What am I bringing (to the table)?'"

So it sounds like this was at least one of the ideas she brought--a collector with all her things. Certainly Beck is a bit of a collector himself, so he could relate.