In an interview with Pitchfork Media, Berman said that while recording he used a new guitar to influence a new mindset. He wrote all of the songs before going into the studio, so that he could make sure each song took "into account its neighbors". The vocals were not recorded until last, as he kept changing the lyrics and wanted to be able to edit them without having to re-record the entire song. Berman went on to say that at the end of recording he wished he'd had more time to write, as there were still things he would have changed. "What Is Not But Could Be If" was a 'totally different kind of writing' for Berman, and he compared it to bands that sang slogans and epigrammatic writing.