This was written by Sam Watters (formerly of the band Color Me Badd), and his songwriting partner Louis Biancaniello. The duo's other credits include "Forever Is Over" by The Saturdays and "All I Ever Wanted" by Kelly Clarkson.
Cole recorded the song in Los Angeles. It was one of the last songs done for the album.
This song is about hiding your tears from your partner. The BBC asked Cole if there is an element of autobiography in the song. She replied: "For me, when you hear a song you have to relate to the lyric of it. In general, life is up and down. It is a bit bittersweet, so I think that reflects in the songs I've chosen and the things I've written."
Eddie Vedder often changes the words when he sings "Yellow Ledbetter." The basic story is about a guy whose brother dies in the first Gulf War. Apparently, bad news in the army is given in yellow envelopes.