PJ Harvey wrote the songs for The Hope Six Demolition Project during her travels to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Washington D.C. with photographer/filmmaker Seamus Murphy between 2011 and 2014.
Harvey sings here of an ominous, imposing government body. She drew inspiration from Murphy's photograph of a derelict government building in Afghanistan - official title The Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled. Harvey recalled to Uncut that outside the building, "an amputee and a pregnant hound sit by the young man with withered arms."
The song opens with a sample of Jerry McCain And His Upstarts 1956 track "That's What They Want."
Carla Thomas became the first woman to achieve a Top 10 hit on the Hot 100 with a song she wrote herself when "Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)" reached the chart's top tier in 1961. Thomas was just 16-years-old when she penned it.
The lyrics for "Mary, Did You Know?" were written by Christian singer and comedian Mark Lowry, after his pastor asked him to write a Christmas musical for their church. Southern gospel musician Buddy Greene later added music to his words.