An extract on #sunsets
Johnson wrote this song while he was on a surf trip in Micronesia, and says "Something about being on boats always pulls songs out of me." Billboard says that Johnson's lines such as, "You tell yourself just to turn away/but you know you've already lost" and "I know I've seen that vacant stare/selling sunsets for somebody else" have a soothing tinge unlike other Johnson songs. Other lines such as "You find yourself looking up at night, from the bottom of the earth" are supposed to caputure the listener, and make them feel like they are on a beach on a hot summer day. The recording displays a very big instrumentation of the music he recorded that launched his career in 1999. The song is one of three songs to be released prior to the album, along with "My Mind Is for Sale," and "You Can't Control it".
The song was first released exclusively through Billboard in the morning of August 3, 2017, but later in the day was available for download on ITunes, and to all who pre-ordered the album. A CD single for the song was released on August 17, 2017.
"Sunsets" earned a mixed response from reviewers. Some reviewers praised its appeal and aggression, whilst others appreciated the power ballad elements within it. Others, however, described the song negatively as "lumbering". "Sunsets" charted moderately, reaching No. 11 on the Australian singles chart.
Vulture Street was recorded and developed over a seven-week period in Sydney, Australia. It was during this time that "Sunsets" was written and produced. Nick DiDia produced the album, as he had done on previous Powderfinger albums including Odyssey Number Five. "Sunsets" was mixed in Atlanta, Georgia, by Brendan OBrien, who had previously worked with DiDia. Fanning described the album during production stages as "a much more dry, direct rock", but also noted that "just because I rock, doesn't mean I'm made of stone". In that sense, "Sunsets" (and numerous other songs on Vulture Street) were seen as emotive, combined with the rock elements Fanning described.
In an interview with Undercover magazine, Powderfinger guitarist Darren Middleton described "Sunsets" as one of (songwriter and lead vocalist) Bernard Fanning's older songs. He said it was similar to the acoustic songs on Odyssey Number Five, the band's previous album. Middleton also said the band worked hard to make "Sunsets" heavy, so that it shared the feel of other songs on the album. In an interview with Rove host Rove McManus, Fanning described Vulture Street as the band wanting to "make a change" and "go back to why [they] started playing". He cited rock and roll from the 1970s as a major influence on the album, especially the work of Led Zeppelin and AC/DC.