"I Might" — The music that always feels the most like home to me is '60s garage band music, "Pebbles"- and "Nuggets"-type (garage band compilation albums) of one-hit-wonder garage band music. That's just the stuff that's the most deeply ingrained in my DNA and my blood. It's kind of weird that it doesn't shine through that much. But it seems like it does on this record. That Farfisa (organ) sound is a pretty major part of that. It wasn't even directed, actually. Mike (keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen) is just a big fan of that sound too. So that's what he went for.
"Art of Almost" — It was always the first track, from the second we started working on it. It opened the door the widest to the rest of the record. I think it's the least categorizable song. We've had a string of records that have really hammered home this theory that whatever you put first on a record basically becomes the shorthand that that record has to endure critically. "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" would be talked about very differently if "Heavy Metal Drummer" was the first song on that album. "Either Way" was the first song on "Sky Blue Sky," and of course that's the "really mellow" record. I thought this was a chance to say, "What is this? You tell me."
I also thought (it) would be interesting to start a record with hard drives starting up. The way it was described in the studio is the sound of data dying. The record kind of moves from that to the opposite end of the spectrum, to the most organic and pastoral kind of sound that you can put on a record.
"One Sunday Morning (For Jane Smiley's Boyfriend)" — "Art of Almost" is a collage, and "One Sunday Morning" is one long performance. We never really played it again. That was just the one time we played it.
It really doesn't have much to do with Jane Smiley. I have met her boyfriend. The best I can do to explain it is I really like the guy, and we had a really poignant conversation for two guys that don't really know each other. I did my best to reflect what I thought was powerful about that discussion.
— Rob Thomas