Frontman Gary Lightbody told Q magazine November 2008 that this song is inspired by Belfast, the city he grew up in and returned to in 2005. He explained: "So many songs written about Belfast are about the conflict, but this is a song about my love for the place."
Bruce Springsteen was an influence on this song as the band were listening to The Boss's material when they recorded it.
Lightbody told Q magazine about some of the song's lyrics.
"All these years later and it's killing me/ Your broken records and words." Lightbody explained: "This bit alludes to the not-so-good days. The broken records and words are the politicians saying no. The scars of conflict are still there, but Belfast is regenerating so rapidly. It's a fully functional, vibrant, European city these days."
"Pick a side, pick a fight, but get your epitaph right." Lightbody explained: "I patently don't understand the history of the conflict because I don't understand why anyone would want to fight, and this line refers to that. I'm not fighting anyone for anything, because I don't hate anyone."
"I love this city tonight, I love this city always/ It bares its teeth like a light, and spits me out after days." Lightbody explained: "Going out in Belfast is very more-ish and I'm a moth to the flame of it. The music scene is growing at a ludicrous rate and I can usually be found checking out one of a dozen great new bands."
"Tell me you never wanted more than this? And I will stop talking now." Lightbody explained: "It wouldn't be one of my songs without a line like that! It's a modern love story in the blink of an eye. In a wider sense, the album is all about being in love, which is a change for me."
Lightbody told The Sunday Times October 5, 2008 that this song's spiky solo and chunky chord work were inspired by old Tom Petty and Cars records. He explained: "We're normally inspired by what's happening right now, but it's good sometimes to luxuriate in the past."
Lightbody told the Irish public broadcaster RTE: "This was inspired by Belfast and Northern Ireland in general but it can be about any city and the relationship everybody has with the place where they're from. It's about the reasons why I grew up confused by my country and the reasons now why I love it so. The place where we are from (and sometimes it is simply by pushing against it) has a great impact on the type of person we become."
Garret "Jacknife" Lee produced this song, along with the rest of the album. A Hundred Million Suns was Snow Patrol's third set in a row in which they'd teamed up with Lee. Lightbody attributes a lot of Snow Patrol's success to the Irish producer. He told The Sun October 17, 2008: "We do have this great relationship. He's Fred Astaire and I'm Ginger Rogers. Because we were one of the first bands that he worked with as a producer on Final Straw, we developed a strong relationship and bond early on. With us, he's there from the very start, which is unusual today with busy producers. But I'll send him demos and I'll even write a lot at his house and he will be there, from the start of the very first song, all the way, right until the last mix is done."