Travis frontman Fran Healy blogged on the band's website: "Song To Self was a fragment of an idea that was hanging around for a while. Deriving from the term "note to self". It's a big balls out rocker that we thrashed to pieces in the studio. The cool thing about it is it changes up after every section. Intro, Verse, Chorus, Middle 8, Chorus, instrumental break and final chorus followed by a very short outro."
Healy revealed the contribution of Swedish musician Claes, who plays the piano for Travis when they go on tour and who has had a #1 record in the Swedish pop charts. He wrote: "We asked him to help in these sessions because we would be needing all hands on deck in an attempt to reduce overdubs. We have never had anyone else come in and play on sessions, instead choosing in the past to do piano parts ourselves (mostly Andy (Dunlop), sometimes Dougie (Payne) and sometimes me) but Claes has the cut of our jib, knows how we like it and has a feel and a mind of his own. Throughout this session he has pulled out some great performances when it mattered. On Chinese Blues he is the pounding piano that ties the whole track together. On Long Way Down his solo is inspired, despite me emptying the entire cutlery drawer on the strings of the piano. On the introduction of Song To Self we needed some nice floaty synth sound from which the song explodes. He twiddled about and eventually was happy. At the beginning of the take we chose, there was some quite funny out of tune bits which gave me a fit of the giggles in the middle of trying to sing 'I'm singing a song to myself...' In the mix we shaved off the out of tune bits. As this was a guide vocal the giggles disappeared too. It was nice though, to hear how relaxed we all were during this one."
Healy blogged that a friend popped by and after hearing the final mix, he "said it sounded like we were playing 96 tracks of music. When you hear this, and it sounds MASSIVE, you'll be listening to 12 tracks of music. It doesn't make sense. 4 drum tracks, 3 electric guitar tracks, 1 bass track, 1 vocal track, 1 backing vocal track, 1 string tracks and of course Claes, and on the string tracks we play some acoustic where there was space on the string track to save space."