Tim Rice-Oxley says this song is about his friendship with his bandmate, Keane singer Tom Chaplin. In Q Magazine October 2007, Rice-Oxley explained: "With 'Hamburg Song' I started writing almost about myself. The first verse I'd written about my wife, about what she must feel about me sometimes. And then we got into the studio and it all poured out and turned into a song that was really about friendship. I did think, 'This is going to be quite awkward.' But if it's painful to write or to play, then that's kind of a job well done."