Lead singer Stephan Jenkins has said that the song "comes from a story our manager told us about a high school friend of his who was gay. He went to a conservative school in San Diego [with] all sons of military types. Being gay was just not acceptable. He offed himself--he jumped off a bridge." In another interview he restates: "it's about a friend who's gay, jumping off a bridge and killing themselves."
The song is also about Jenkins' own difficult, often alienating childhood experiences. He says, "My parents divorced, and that hurt me. We were poor and I went to a rich high school. I was dyslexic and had attention deficit disorder, which I still have. So I carried all these things with me. One afternoon, I had this epiphany. I said 'You know what? I don't have it all together. I come from stuff that was really difficult, and that's me. That's who I am.' I embraced that. There's a line in the song that says, 'Everyone's got to face down the demons/Maybe today we can put the past away.' It's very much a song about putting the past away."
The song is featured in the 2008 film Yes Man as Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) uses an acoustic serenade to try to prevent a suicidal man (Luis Guzmán) from jumping off the ledge of an apartment building. After being featured in the film, the song's digital downloads spiked.