It was the last album completed by producer Jerry Finn before his death. The album is also notable for being the first Morrissey album since Your Arsenal not to feature Alain Whyte on lead guitar, who is permanently replaced by Jesse Tobias. The album marks his final writing collaborations with Morrissey, after Whyte confirmed it was unlikely he would collaborate with Morrissey again.
Recording for the album commenced in late November 2007 and ended in late December in Los Angeles at Conway Recording Studios. Mixing began in early February 2008. An additional track for the album was recorded in late May according to drummer Matt Walker. Keyboardist Michael Farrell left the band prior to the album's completion so Morrissey recruited Roger Manning to fill in. Manning previously played on Morrissey's 2004 album You Are the Quarry. Manning had this to say about the recording of the album:
In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live with Tony Visconti, the producer stated that his new project would be "the next Morrissey album", though that this would not be forthcoming for at least a year. However, in an interview with the BBC News website in October 2007, Morrissey said that the album was already written and ready for a possible Autumn 2008 release. In December, Morrissey signed a new deal with Decca Records, which included a Greatest Hits album and a newly recorded album to follow in Autumn 2008.
It was announced in November 2007 that Jerry Finn, the man behind Morrissey's 2004 album You Are the Quarry, would be producing the new album instead of Tony Visconti. A reason for the change was rumored to be related to Kristeen Young, Morrissey's opening act at the time, and Visconti's supposed involvement. Further "proof" of this rumor is the occurrence of L.A. radio station Indie 103.1's Joe Escalante leaking that Jerry Finn was the producer of the new album the day following Kristeen Young's firing from the 2007–2008 Greatest Hits tour. This was also a full week before the official announcement from Decca that Jerry Finn was to produce the new album. However, in a June 2008 interview with Hot Press magazine Morrissey cleared up the issue:
On 30 May 2008, true-to-you.net posted the following on Morrissey's 2008 album: