As with on much of the This Desert Life album, Hanging around saw the band experimenting with different recording techniques - in this case, utilizing looping. The song consists of eight different piano loops arranged in various configurations in setup inspired by Brian Wilson's Smile project. According to Counting Crows fansite anna-begins.com, Duritz says: ""So I was sort of ... semi-celebratory about that but also [thinking] 'Where am I going?' It's about a wild time when I was growing' up. Living a bit of a wild life, celebrating that. It's also about being scared that you don't have a future, but I don't think that's a waste. In the end, the guy just decides to continue having fun and to worry about it later. " In an interview with Songfacts Adam Duritz summed up his though process behind the lyrics by stating "The idea of a song created with loops made me think of being on a loop myself. I wrote that song about when I was younger and the latter years in Berkeley and how I loved it there, but I was kind of going nowhere"