This was the second single released from country singer Brad Paisley's eighth studio album, American Saturday Night.
Paisley has said that this is his favorite track on American Saturday Night. He explained to Entertainment Weekly why he's so proud of this song: "I'm always striving for that moment where I feel like I did something the best I could do it, and I feel like with this song, I did that. I feel like the production is perfect for the song. There's three things I wanted to do. I wanted to show this world through my eyes, my kids' eyes, and my granddad's eyes, with this look of hope. First of all, if you wanna blow the mind of a 10 year old in 1982, which was me, you go back and you take your iPhone and show him Pac-Man on it. You would have seen me spontaneously combust. I would have lost my mind. And then you want to do the same thing to my grandfather, go back to 1941 in the Phillippines and tell him, "Hang in there when the air raid sirens and kamikaze pilots are going off, it'll be fine. Your grandson's gonna play Japan twice on tour." He would have thought you were out of your mind. And then there's my kids, who are gonna be like, "Dad, what's the big deal? Yeah, the President's black."
It's a song that's meant to celebrate these advances. I think that country music shies away from certain political things, and I'm not taking a side politically at all. I don't care if you're Republican or Democrat. On November 4th, if you weren't moved... I was in Times Square. And that was probably the second place to be next to Grant Park [in Chicago], as far as history. I'm in the ABC green room watching it on a feed, and in Times Square right out the window, people are going crazy. Running out of pubs, millions of people in the street. Blacks, whites, hugging, just this amazing thing. It was just like, "What in the world has happened?" And you just had to be moved.
I think it's something to be really proud of as a country. It's really rare that you feel musically that something you do is more important than just entertainment. And I feel like this song is maybe more important than just entertainment."
Paisley wrote the song with his longtime collaborator Chris DuBois, who co-penned eight songs on American Saturday Night. DuBois told The Tennessean that the pair weren't even planning to write the night they started this song. Instead they were going to listen to some music and discuss possible ideas. When Paisley didn't hear anything he wanted to record on the stack of CDs Dubois brought, the singer picked up his guitar and started playing. Dubois said: "At that point we felt like there was some real meat missing from the record. But it had to be something we could write in kind of an up-tempo kind of way, which is not an easy thing to do. Brad had an idea about 'Welcome to the Future,' and we knew if we decided to write the song it wasn't going to be an easy song to write. When we were finished, we both felt like we had gone into uncharted territory."
At over seven minutes long, Paisley was concerned that this was far longer than the songs most Country stations play. The songwriters resolved the problem by it into three segments on American Saturday Night. The bulk appears as track three, another verse is reprised at track seven and then the record is concluded at track 15.
On November 4, 2008, the day the nation went to the polls, Brad Paisley was in New York to promote his Play album and he was able to witness the epic celebration of Barack Obama's election to the presidency. That event helped inspire this song, and six months later, Paisley performed it live for the first time in the East Room of the White House to the president. The country singer told Country Aircheck: "If you had made me aware of that when we were writing it, it would've been a different song. It would have been very hard to focus thinking about performing that in the East Room."Paisley added that the song is easily misunderstood. "I caught a little bit of flack from some people that didn't quite understand, that thought for a second that maybe I was getting political with this song. This isn't that. This is my tribute to the emotions of Nov. 4, regardless of where you stand. A year prior to the election, comments were made among friends and people that said to me, 'I kinda like that guy, but I just don't think this country's ready to elect a minority.' And on Nov. 4, we proved that we were willing to put things aside."