Vocalist Jim Kerr returned from his Sicily home to his parents' house in Glasgow as his mother was ill. Whilst there he took the opportunity to pen some lyrics for Graffiti Soul. He found himself seated at the old kitchen table where he had once written songs while listening to ideas that guitarist Charlie Burchill had recorded on C60 cassettes. Kerr explained in publicity materials: "I tried it again and it worked. Only this time Charlie was emailing me MP3's from Rome."
One of the tunes that Burchill emailed had a certain train rhythm. It also painted a picture that chimed with Scots author David Greig's writings on certain inhabitants of Moscow's netherworld, which inspired Kerr's noir thriller lyrics for this song.
Graffiti Soul was Simple Minds 15th studio album. Kerr and Burchill are the only original members of the band left.