Conor Oberst is the primary songwriter for the Bright Eyes project, and his lyrics are usually hailed as one of the band's strongest aspect. They're emotional, often melancholy, and generally introspective. Like many other Bright Eyes songs, "The First Days of My Life" deals with powerful emotional material through poetic, allusive lyrics.
The song is about a lover realizing that meeting their partner started their life anew, "First Day of My Life" captures the transformative power of relationships - not only romantic ones. The love song is now a wedding classic.
Conor Oberst described the song as being about "waking up from a long nightmare." Since the lyrics are overtly about falling in love and the ensuing beginning of a meaningful relationship, the implication is that this experience was the most meaningful part of Oberst's life so far that felt like a rebirth.
The song appears on Bright Eyes I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, one half of the band's two simultaneous 2005 releases. It's a more acoustic, instrumental album compared to its electronic inspired counterpart, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. I'm Wide Awake, was the band's highest charting release at the time, peaking at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 200.
The song appeared in the 2007 film, Elvis and Annabelle, starring Blake Lively and Max Minghella.
It was also featured on the NBC TV show, Chuck, in the season 4 episode Chuck Versus the Last Details.
The music video was directed by noted film director John Cameron Mitchell. It received special recognition at the 2006 GLAAD Awards for its positive representations.