The Combat Rock album was an attempt to distill the wild creative variety of the triple-LP Sandinista! (1980) down into a more simpler, coherent package tied back to the group's original rock roots, although internal wrangling and infighting put paid to that for the most part (manager Bernie Rhodes is quoted as asking exasperatedly, "Does everything have to be Raga?!" when hearing early demos in late 1981). After multiple delays and a salvage production operation from old Beatles, Rolling Stones and Who producer Glyn Johns, it finally came out in mid-1982.
Atom Tan is one of many stylistic variations on the record, set to a slow soul groove with angular guitars and call-and-response vocals. The lyrics at surface value seem to deal with the paranoia and pressures of modern life, with a subtext of media perceptions which is a theme which runs through most of Combat Rock's lyrics, with references to Hollywood, the Lone Ranger and Batman - famous fictional characters.
The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" came top of a 2013 Spotify poll to find out which songs music fans most commonly hear people singing incorrectly. Many believe Annie Lennox is singing: "Sweet dreams are made of cheese, who am I to disagree?"