In an interview on her MyYearbook.com page, Kate Heath asked vocalist Cristina Scabbia what inspired the theme behind Shallow Life. She replied: "We live in the fashion capital Milan, Italy. We notice that everything in the media and press has to be absolutely perfect and shining. There's not a lot of place for normal people, normal jobs. If you want to be a winner, you have to have a shiny car. That basically inspired the whole album, even if it's not a concept album."
Mike Campbell from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers played the slide guitar on "Sixth Avenue Heartache." There is a connection here - Wallflowers lead singer Jakob's dad, Bob Dylan, played with Tom Petty in The Traveling Wilburys.