Though Realism was in the main recorded in conventional California studio surroundings, the band employed the unique acoustic qualities of a bathroom for this song. Merritt explained in publicity materials: "'From a Sinking Boat' was recorded entirely using only the actual reverb from my actual bathroom. Except for the sitar track; we cheated. All the other tracks were recorded in the bathroom, far away from the microphone, and they sound very watery, which is the idea, because it's about a shipwreck. It's one of my several shipwreck songs." (Another one is "Shipwrecked," from Merritt's "goth-bubblegum band the Gothic Archies' Tragic Treasury).
"The Way" by Fastball was inspired by the story of an elderly couple from Texas who drove to a nearby family reunion and kept going. Fastball's bass player imagined them taking off and having fun like they were young. The story didn't end well: the couple was later found dead after they crashed in a canyon.