Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
The first single from Halcyon took a lot of work before Goulding was satisfied it was ready. "I've been with this song a long time," the singer told Fearne Cotton on BBC Radio 1 following the track's debut play, "and I've had to listen to it a lot to get it just how I wanted it," The song was made available to download in the UK on September 30, 2012.
Speaking with Carson Daily on his AMP 97.1FM radio show on August 9, 2012, Goulding shared most of her songs are the result of single lines she constructs while going about her daily routine. "It's really hard to explain. I record stuff all the time, like little vocal things," she said. "I write random things down… Sometimes I just get things stuck in my head and I record them, and that actually becomes a song quite a lot of the time."
The Halcyon album title refers to a mythical bird in ancient times, which was said to remain tranquil during hatching and was able to calm the wind and seas. Said Goulding to Carson Daily: "It's like a bird that basically during the winter, it would lay its eggs by the sea and bring calm to the stormy waters, and a lot of my songs on this record are about the ocean and water."
Goulding created the song with producer Jim Elliot, who is one half of the British electronic duo Kish Mauve (Kylie Minogue "All The Lovers
," Will Young's "Jealousy
"). "This was fun because Jim's a really experienced, clever producer, but he acts like a child, like me," she told Billboard
magazine. "We're both like little kids just wanting to create sounds, like 'Oh that sounds cool' and 'let's see what happens when we do this!' It's like child's play, and… that's how 'Anything Can Happen' started. It's quite childlike and quite innocent."
Goulding discussed her hopes for the song with MTV News. "I suppose it's one of those songs where I sort of talk about bits of my childhood, but also about my friendship with this person, and, um, I suppose it's a song of realization," she said. "And it's called 'Anything Could Happen,' [so] I'm hoping it will make people go out and propose to their girlfriends or go on that holiday they never ended up doing. I hope it will provoke positivity, as opposed to make people really sad."
Goulding can be seen performing the song in a Beats by Dre commercial, which debuted in September 2012 as part of their #ShowYourColor campaign. The ad also features a number of other celebrities, including Miami Heat player LeBron James and rapper Lil Wayne.
Most of the songs on Halcyon are about Goulding's journey from darkness to light after breaking up with former boyfriend BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James. "This album for me is a journey from dark into light, from confusion to understanding," said the British songstress. "I didn't set out to write a break-up record but I think it became one." This affirming track finds Goulding at the end of her journey, acknowledging the lingering darkness but embracing the unknown with positivity.
The song features backing vocals from the London Community Gospel Choir.
The song's music video was filmed on August 7, 2012 in Malibu, California and the storyline revolves around a couple's car crash near a beach. Goulding explained to MTV News the meaning of the apocalyptic clip. "The video is about myself and I suppose ... [my] love interest, you might say, [or] soul mate and we end up having an accident," she said. "But did we? There you go, that's the thing. We end up having a car accident then we end up coming back to life."