The lyrics have no connection to the Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson. Interpol's lead singer and guitarist, Paul Banks, revealed to Pitchfork in 2003 how the music inspired the title of the song. "That was one of those things where, if you were to be able to isolate the keyboard part to that song - which you probably can't - but if you were in the studio, or if you just heard us doing a soundcheck, there's a quality to it which someone commented was kind of Viking-esque. Like if you were watching a film, you could see the galleon approaching the coast, the f--king Vikings peering over the edge or whatever, and then I just said, you know, 'Oh, Leif Erikson,' and I was really happy that everyone could live with it, because for me, it's like absurdist. Absurdism is great, 'cause why not? It seems more arbitrary to take a lyric and make it your title than to take something completely out of left field."