Kelly Jones started writing "Dakota" in a Paris hotel room on a winter's day in 2004. He was staying in the French capital while Stereophonics were on a promo tour for their You Gotta Go There To Come Back
album and was trying to find a new sound. He told The Guardian
: "You sing lots of gobbledegook when you're writing songs, whatever comes out of your mouth. But sometimes your subconscious delivers a cool phrase. 'You make me feel like the one' just came out."
Jones left the song on his Dictaphone, and a month later, while Stereophonics were on tour in the United States, he wrote the lyrics in the South Dakota city of Vermillion. He explained: "I was thinking about who had made me feel like "the one." It's part biographical and part imagination. You know, teenage relationships, when things were brand new: the smell of grass and chewing gum, my first car and driving to the next town with a girl you'd met in college. The 'Dakota' lyric is a bit like The Bridges of Madison County
, where you have this amazing romance, then you don't see each other ever again. And if you ever did, what would happen?"