Lyrically this up-tempo dance track appears to be influenced by astrology. The subject of the song appears to making several warnings, including "this is not the time to start a new love" as "Mercury's in retrograde." The reference to Mercury being in retrograde concerns the times when the planet, from an observer on Earth's point of view, appears to rotate in the opposite direction. In astrology this apparent retrograde motion of Mercury is commonly thought to signify difficulties in communication, hence the warnings in the song.
Much of the Intimacy album was influenced by a broken relationship that singer and lyricist Kele Okereke went through. He explained to Rolling Stone magazine: "I went through a break-up at the end of last year and I guess that's what the record's about really. I couldn't help thinking about it or talking about it or writing about it. I wouldn't want anyone to think it's the clichéd break-up record but I haven't written about true, personal experiences all that much in the past."