This song is about dealing with a world that's moving ever more quickly.
Singer Michael Stipe told the Daily Telegraph that the sound and speed of the songs on Accelerate, "has to do with something much bigger, which happens to tie in with the album title. It's about ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder] and people's attention span and it's millennial. We're eight years into the 21st century and what does that mean? It's just flying by. So who has time for an extra two verses or three choruses?"
Stipe told Q Magazine April 2008 that it was the band's intention to make a short, sharp rock album: "It was the most obvious place to go. Based on the conversations we had about how we lost focus on Around The Sun, we needed to throw the R.E.M. rule-book out, yet again. It was the easiest place to go: direct, raw, trimmed down."
This was only the second title track on any R.E.M. album. "Around The Sun" from their 2004 album of the same name was their first.
Jacknife Lee was asked by Flagpole magazine how he and R.E.M. came to work together. The Accelerate producer replied: "I was recommended by U2. We met first in February last year at a Robyn Hitchcock gig at the Jericho Tavern in Oxford. R.E.M. played a few songs including 'I'm Gonna DJ,' and I loved it. Great, great energy. We had dinner and arranged to meet a few weeks later in Athens. We hit it off and organized some studios."