This is the first song to be released from the Long Island rockers Taking Back Sunday's self-titled fifth studio album. The record marked the return of original members John Nolan (vocalist/guitarist) and Shaun Cooper (bass player) after the departure of Matt Rubano and Matthew Fazzi. Both Nolan and Cooper originally left the band in 2003 citing irreconcilable differences, but patched things up and reunited with vocalist Adam Lazzara, guitarist Eddie Reyes, and drummer Mark O'Connell for Taking Back Sunday.
TBS spent a few weeks at the Sonic Ranch in El Paso, Texas while writing for the album. Lazzara told Noisecreep that this song "embodies both the mood of the environment we were in down there, and the mood we were in about being back together again and writing new music."
"El Paso" batters and pounds in a way TBS have never done before. Lazzara told Spin magazine that in his mind it's, "probably the heaviest rock song we've ever written. Once we got done with it, we ended up listening to it 15 or 16 times in a row, and we were all kind of like, 'Holy s—t. When everybody's like 'Holy s--t' about something, you're onto something. It's a total motorcycle-raging-down-the-highway kind of song."