Hunger of the Pine is the lead single from alt-J's second album, This Is All Yours.
The song features a sample of the song
of her singing "I'm a female rebel".
The sample originally came from a remix Thom Green, alt-J's drummer, made for Miley Cyrus.
Gus Unger-Hamilton said "it sounded cool with what Joe was playing on the guitar."
The band asked Miley Cyrus if they could use the sample, which Joe Newman said
she was "cool with it". He said that Miley Cyrus has "been really supportive of us, and she's a fan,
I think, which is really nice.
Gus Unger-Hamilton said to NPR about the writing process after bassist Gwil Sainsbury left:
"Having to write songs as a trio rather than a foursome was a daunting prospect for us at first,
but coming up with this song reassured us that - for want of a better phrase - we were going to be OK.
[It is] composed entirely of new and spontaneous ideas that arose during writing sessions for the second album.
It was written very quickly using some guitar chords and sounds being layered on Ableton,
and seemed to signal a bit of a new sound for us.
The lyrics mainly suggest the idea that missing someone - pining - can be a physical pain much like hunger.
The last two lines are taken from
French poet Alfred de Musset’s poem L'espoir en Dieu (meaning Hope in God), written in 1850.