Bob Dylan was struggling to come up with the right arrangement for this tirade against the modern world when producer Daniel Lanois came up with a setting that he thought could make the song work. Guitarist Brian Stolz recalled to Uncut magazine: "Dan had an idea for a little groove, kind of a funkier groove. I remember we ran through it a few times before Bob got there. Bob came walking in the room when we were playing. He said, ''What's that?' Dan said, 'It's a little something we're working up for 'Political World.' And Bob said, 'Political World'? It doesn't go like that! It goes like this.'"
"He picked up a guitar and started playing it and we all jumped in – and my memory is that's the track you hear on the record," Stolz added. "If you listen to 'Political World' you can hear how Willie (Green, drums) doesn't even come in with the beat because he was jumping in after Bob."
The song featured on the soundtrack of the 2006 Robin Williams movie, Man of the Year.