This song is about the tennis star Andy Roddick. Frontman and lyricist Yannis Philippakis explained to Mojo magazine July 2008 that he chose to write about Roddick as he identified with what he sees as his self-destructive career: "He's that doomed hero, an almost Greek mythological figure with the fastest serve ever and yet he can't win a grand slam. You can tell it's going to destroy him. I feel an affinity with stuff like that. It's the Titanic syndrome, basically."
"It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" was inspired by a dream where Michael Stipe conjured up images of people with the initials L.B.: Lester Bangs, Leonid Breshnev, Lenny Bruce and Leonard Bernstein.