The story takes place in the aftermath of the 1994 earthquake in Los Angeles, and covers the reactions of all characters to the event. The main characters are seven young Americans all living in Los Angeles but from different social and ethnic backgrounds.
Adams composition is comprised of a number of popular-style songs which are performed by pop singers and accompanied by a combination of synthesized tunes and a rock band. Still, the work strongly bears Adams' signature minimalistic style.
The opera's title is based on a comment of one of the earthquake's victims.