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"