Amos explained this song to Rolling Stone: "Coming out of a lot of miscommunication with friends and family and extensions of all that, where I think in everybody's life, sometimes, you don't know how you got there. You don't know how the meltdown happened within a group of people; lots of finger-pointing and I couldn't cope. And it wasn't my family this time. These days, sometimes friends are family, and it was a group of us, and I needed to pull back. And re-look at my life and who was in my life, and the kinds of people that I wanted in my life, and the kind of person I could be in a relationship where I wasn't able to maybe be what someone needed me to be, so I needed to be with somebody else who I could give what they needed. This was a real turning point in claiming what kind of life I wanted to live. It was a real beginning."
"It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" was inspired by a dream where Michael Stipe conjured up images of people with the initials L.B.: Lester Bangs, Leonid Breshnev, Lenny Bruce and Leonard Bernstein.