The opening track of Alt-J's third album Relaxer opens with a 90-second acoustic guitar instrumental before the band's Joe Newman and Gus Unger-Hamilton plus Wolf Alice's Ellie Rowsell start contributing vocals. The title '3WW' stands for "3 worn words," those three words being "I love you."
The abstract story features the three singers singing about three different characters. Gus Unger-Hamilton croons from a "wayward lad's" point of view, Joe Newman takes a third party's perspective and Ellie Roswell represents two girls whom Unger-Hamilton has an amorous encounter with.
According to a newsletter the band sent out to fans, the song "traces the adventures of a wayward lad on England's northeast coast, culminating in the whispering of three worn words."
The song features strings from the London Metropolitan Orchestra.
Alt-J's primary lyrical goal is to sing about love in a way that hasn't been expressed before. Joe Newman explained to NME how they tried to do that with this song:
"With '3WW', that's the story of a young man who travels the country and spends a night with these girls by the campfire," he said. "And they send him a note saying, 'We may have said last night that we loved you, but that's not necessarily true."
Love was just a way of getting us to our destination,'" Newman concluded. "In a way, it's an anti-love song, filled with sex."