Robert Smith wrote this song on his 39th birthday, which he chose not to celebrate. Instead of having a party, he shut himself off and wrote this song about losing your passion. In Pulse magazine, Smith said: "I think everyone, if they're old enough, at some point in their life has thought, 'Where did my passions go, what happened to my desires to change the world?' You have to work harder as you get older, because cynicism is like a creeping insidious enemy that can poison everything. And if I'm really honest, I have to admit that I don't have the same fire, the same desire to be heart, that I had when I was younger. But I think that saying 'The fire's almost out' in '39' is not a statement that I'm giving up. I'm just being open and honest about the fact that what's driven me to express myself in the past is just not there like it used to be. That's neither a good nor a bad thing, it's just a fact."