Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon handles all the lead vocals on this song. Bassist Nicky Wire told NME: "I wrote the music and lyrics to '4 Lonely Roads' and I just didn't want to hear my voice there. I saved the public from that! Cate added such a pure vocal to it, it's almost unnerving."
The Manics sent Le Bon the track in LA. Wire told The Quietus that, "at the start you can hear her walking in her high heels, clip clopping up to the mic. She did it in three takes, it worked perfectly."
Wire did the demo on his own. He told The Quietus: "I did the drums on that. I wanted it to sound like 'Two Of Us' by The Beatles, a sort of lolloping groove."
"Islands in the Stream" was originally written by The Bee Gees as an R&B song. It was originally written by the brothers for Marvin Gaye, however it was recorded instead as a duet by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton with the Gibb Brothers also contributing vocals.
Bruce Springsteen wrote "Blinded By The Light," which was a #1 hit for Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The "Madman Drummers" line is a reference to Springsteen's first E-Street drummer, Vinnie "Mad dog" Lopez.
"Cigarettes And Chocolate Milk" describes a time in Rufus Wainwright's life when he found himself hungover and pounding chocolate milk to feel better. It didn't work, so he smoked a cigarette, which is when he realized his addictive personality could be a problem.