This song was written by Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, who played an upright bass (double bass) on this.
This was the first single from Binaural and its most successful song, reaching #49 on the Hot 100, #3 in Mainstream Rock Tracks, #10 in Modern Rock Tracks.
In an interview with MTV, Ament stated: "It's a little bit reflecting on where I came from. I grew up in really rural area in Northern Montana, and 'Nothing As It Seems' is looking back at that. I think until two or three years ago, I looked back at my childhood as being a fairly utopian situation where I had the freedom to ride my bike around town when I was five years old, and my parents didn't have to worry about anybody taking me and killing me or whatever. In the last couple of years, there have been some things that have kind of allowed some darker things to come to the surface of my childhood, seeing things that I had kind of selectively forgotten for my own mental health or whatever. I had just seen Affliction and I had just read Nine Below Zero by Kevin Canty, all very kind of rural things that unearthed a lot of stuff. 'Nothing As It Seems' is just kind of what came out. I'm just now starting to actually really analyze what I was talking about, because I still don't really have a grip on that."
Like some other songs from the album, this was recorded using binaural techniques, meaning that it's specifically designed for listening with headphones.
Suggestion credit: Martin - Rostock, Germany, for all above