Aimee Mann told the Independent newspaper June 20, 2008 about this autobiographical song: "I pretty much base all my characters on real people, exaggerating their situations and '31 Today' is about me, but I was also thinking about people I knew back then - 'getting loaded watching CNN'. There was a guy I went out with for a while who was a musician and had a trust fund, so that's all he did. You can kid yourself that you're staying informed, but really."
The song's lyrics sum up the disappointment and self-concern of many 20- and 30-somethings in the U.S. "I thought my life would be different somehow/ I thought my life would be better by now." Mann's disillusionment is her own feeling, but she's also lambasting her peers for focusing so much on themselves and the twentysomething angst and uncertainty, that has now become thirtysomething ennui.
The music video for the song features improvisational comedic acting by Morgan Murphy, and was directed by Bobcat Goldthwait.
Until December 5, 1998, a song had to be issued as a single to make the Hot 100. Aaliyah's "Try Again" was the first tune to top the chart based on airplay alone, without any sales figures being included.