After nearly five years of non-stop touring, Cage the Elephant band members took some time off during the long 2012-13 winter. Vocalist Matt Shultz told Artist Direct
that the downtown had a strange effect on him. "A lot of times, I find myself sitting in my living room staring at a blank TV screen for hours on end," he explained. "You ask yourself, 'What am I doing? What the heck?' I wanted to write about my situation, but I didn't want to write about it by saying, 'Here, this is my story!' If we could watch ourselves in our houses and our behaviors, that's what I was thinking. It was the first time I'd ever been home in an extended period of time. We'd been on the road for five years. There were so many times where I was like, 'Okay, I'm standing in the living room. Now, I'm going to stand in the kitchen!' I'd obsess over dusting the countertops or making sure everything is in its right place. For what reason when there's a world of people out there to be conversed with?"
Shultz penned this song when he was sitting in his living room feeling heavy hearted. "'Telescope' is a great reflection on this winter and a portrait into it coming from my standpoint," he said. "It has strong roots in that feeling of imminent doom. You think, 'My tooth hurts. Do I have a cavity that's impacted? Is it going to cause an infection in my jaw and go to my brain and kill me?' [Laughs] That was very detailed so you know I'm being honest!"