Mike Connell, the band's leader and songwriter, was aiming to write a post-apocalyptic love song when he came up with "Rusted Fields." He told Songfacts in 2021
: "The person 'telling' the song is inviting someone to go out at night, 'beyond the mills and the radioactive fills,' in order to get right, which could really mean any of a number of things. More than anything, I was hoping to create a mood versus spin some sort of narrative, which is the case with most of my songs. It's a pretty dark tune, and touches on things like trying to find something in life that has some meaning, as well as more nebulous stuff like the meaning of 'Southernness.'"