"The Great Escape" is the second single from Boys Like Girls' eponymous debut album, and is also their first single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at 23. The single has been certified Platinum and gold by the RIAA.
According to the song's writer Martin Johnson in a lyric feature on PlayPro.com, the lyrical content of the song is about his graduating from high school.
This song is about leaving the town I grew up in with my best friends at my side. A graduation-type song with a “we’re up to no good, fuck this town, let’s do it up for one more night” twist. I wrote it as a last hurrah to high school, growing up, and in a sense… the last night of being a kid. It’s the end of one chapter… with an outlook on the future… sort of like a prequel to the rest of the record.
The music video was directed by Alan Ferguson and was filmed in January 2007. Released in late February 2007, it was added to MTV playlists and received considerable airplay on those channels along with Fuse TV. The video was #1 on MTV's Total Request Live for 9 days in the summer & fall of 2008. It features the band on the road, as well as in concert, while detailing the journey of a group of their fans on the way to and during their best concert. It goes back and forth between the band and the friends showing their journey as they both make their way to the concert the band will be playing.
The song has also appeared as a downloadable track for the Xbox 360 karaoke game, Lips, and featured on the soundtrack of 2K Sports' Top Spin 3. The song is featured in the Nintendo DS version of the game by Activision, Band Hero and was made available as a downloadable track for the Rock Band game in June 2010. The song is featured on the soundtrack to the movie The House Bunny. It was also used in the official trailer of the Disney movie Tangled. The song was used in episode 64 and 154 of Running Man. The song was used in episode 189 of Dream Team II. The song is a playable level in the Nintendo Wii-exclusive video game We Cheer.