This is the title track of Australian Indie Rock band The Panics' third album. Singer and songwriter Jae Laffer told The Independent May 22, 2009 that he wrote it during a troubled period following a difficult relationship. He explained: "I ended up taking antidepressants for a couple of years, which is really weird for me because I'm a pretty happy-go-lucky character but I was having severe panic attacks – the kind where you drop your shopping and have to crawl out of the supermarket. It's when you find yourself just staying in and drinking too much and spending too much time in your own head. The cruel guards were the medication I was taking. Drugs take away the bad stuff in people's lives, but they knock the top end off as well and blur your whole world."
Cruel Guards won the Best Adult Contemporary Album award at the 2008 ARIAs.
Robin Thicke and his mom, Gloria Loring are the first the first ever mother-and-son to have both tallied top 10 singles on the Hot 100 as solo artists or duos. Loring reached #2 with Carl Anderson in 1986 with "Friends and Lovers" and Thicke topped the chart in 2013 with "Blurred Lines."