The song documents a hot day in Texas, when St. Vincent's Annie Clark went for a walk on her own on a friend's ranch. "It was a beautiful day and no one was around, so I thought, 'I'm going to take all my clothes off to fully experience this,' she recalled to The Observer. "I was having this communion with nature when I saw this rattlesnake. I took off running and when I got home had a shot of tequila."
NME asked Clark if she had thoughts of mortality when she realized a snake was lurking nearby. "Yes I think about dying all the time," she said, "and that would have been an awesome way to die – like it would suck to choke on a chicken bone alone in your apartment, but dying by rattlesnake bite is cool – I was like, 'No, not this time.'"
The third verse of "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies ("they shook and lurched all over the church floor...") was inspired by girl whose parents would speak in tongues at their Pentecostal service.