This was the second song that Machine Head wrote for Catharsis. The music came together quickly but frontman Rob Flynn got stuck on the lyrics. He recalled to Poland's Interia.pl:
"It was just a simple four-minute song that we were, like, 'F--k, cool!' It came together really fast. Lyrically, it took me a while to get how I wanted to shape it. That was the one song on the record where I couldn't get a theme for the song, like a lyrical theme. I went through seven different choruses, seven different subjects, seven completely different sets of lyrics. When it finally came to this last one, that's when I knew it was it."
"Beyond the pale" is a phrase meaning outside the bounds of acceptable behaviour. The term "pale" was applied to various territories under English control and especially to the area around Dublin in Ireland, before the 16th century, in which English law had to be obeyed. It derivation is from Latin palus, meaning 'a stake.' Anyone who lived beyond this fence was thought to be dangerous and uncivilized by the English.
Robb Flynn explained the song's meaning to TeamRock: "It's a straight-ahead Machine Head song, about embracing being outsiders and misfits. 'I found my heroes. The freaks and zeros!' That sums it up."
The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" came top of a 2013 Spotify poll to find out which songs music fans most commonly hear people singing incorrectly. Many believe Annie Lennox is singing: "Sweet dreams are made of cheese, who am I to disagree?"