"Vanities" can be found on Charlotte Gainsbourg's album, IRM
. Beck produced and wrote the entire album.
"Vanities" is a delicate but strong song, based on quiet acoustic guitar (or is that the harp?) and an ambient string section. The slowness and the strings somewhat remind me of "Round The Bend" from Sea Change
, though there is certainly a little more going on here.
A "bonfire of the vanities," according to Wikipedia, refers to the burning of objects that are deemed to be occasions of sin. The vanities here go unspecified, but historically they included burning of books and art. They act as a counterpoint in the song; while the singer is burning vanities, the other person has a life full of experiences.