The Passwords album has a loose theme running through it of communication. This song finds Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith singing about choosing to retreat and hide away in the shadows hoping the world will forget about his existence. Goldsmith told American Songwriter that he purposely chose to include it early on in the tracklisting (it's the second track on the album) as it's an "approach to life" that he doesn't support himself and he didn't want the listener "to leave the experience with those moods and feelings."
He added: "It's something that's very attractive and is actually a strangely cathartic song to sing, but I don't actually believe that is something that would be a healthy attitude for me to take on. I needed the record to start with that at the front in so that by the time you get to 'Time Flies Either Way,' it can seem more like these attitudes have been worked through."
Ariana Grande's collaboration with Zedd, "Break Free" came about after the Russian-German producer overheard Grande performing at a label showcase while he was backstage, and he mentioned to his team that he wanted to work with her.