Washington state native Ben Gibbard pays tribute to Seattle's Smith Tower skyscraper on this track. "Ivory white but feeling kinda blue," he sings. "Because there's no one there to see the view. In 1962, the Needle made its big debut. And everybody forgot what it outgrew." The Smith Tower was the tallest building on the West Coast until 1962 when the Space Needle usurped it.
The song was released as the first single from Gibbard's debut solo album, Former Lives. The Death Cab For Cutie frontman told NME: "These songs span eight years, three relationships, living in two different places, drinking then not drinking. They're a side story, not a new chapter."
Speaking with The Guardian, Gibbard explained: "The song personifies the tower as this once great thing, crying metaphorically, and literally, because there are actual teardrop-shaped windows at the very top."