In an interview with Songfacts, Cousteau songwriter Davey Ray Moor explained
, "A serenade is a song floating through the outdoors. I recall the experience of walking home through Portobello Road as the sun comes up on a London summer's morning, with young lovers walking home from a night out, headed for the comforts of bed and sleep. Haunting jazz wafted out onto the street and I felt solitary and alone like a Hopper painting, yet not lonely or sad. Melancholy can be both bitter and sweet, and this song is a way to describe that frequency."