Cornell explained the song to MTV News: "To me, it's sort of about the lingering aspect of [9/11] that is used to kind of create support for things that haven't been very good for our country or the citizens of our country. I've felt like, with the Bush administration, whenever they're in crisis, they'll suddenly pull out a terror alert - a code orange scenario, which I run into constantly, because I'm in airports so often. They don't ever have to say why, just that it's a matter of national security. And with the conservative right, part of the platform right now in the election is 'Be afraid of terror, be afraid of terrorists. Look at 9/11 - we need an administration and a president who knows how to go out, kick ass, take names and keep us safe.' That's what got us into Iraq in the first place. [That tactic] certainly helped, and I think [9/11 was] a key factor in Bush winning a second term. To me, the song is about how awful 9/11 was, but stresses that we've got to let go of that to move on peacefully."
The music video was shot in Brooklyn, New York, and incorporates footage from Life on Mars. Cornell told MTV News: "We shot it on the street there, and we didn't have any extras or anything. It was really just a small crew and me, and a lot of it's just me on the streets of Brooklyn, intercut with footage from Life on Mars. So it's kind of like I'm in the same neighborhood, and the footage was shot in a way so it can be intercut with footage from the show, which will have a vintage '70s feel to it. And I interacted with people on the street during the shoot, unbeknownst to them, so it was pretty funny. I'd just walk up to people and shake their hand or start talking to them. Everyone was really polite and didn't know what to do. Most of them were just trying to figure out what the hell we were doing down there."