A melancholy look at a New Year's Eve party amid an uncertain future, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie explained that it's not about him or even a specific person, but the girl in the song is an amalgamation of various women he's encountered. In the band's 2011 Storytellers special, Gibbard said that he often gets visions of familiar character types and places them in different settings when he writes songs. He said: "This song is about a person who came to me one day and said she wanted to be written about. So it's not really my story as much as it is hers. The song started out as a folk song, but it had to be ramped up a bit."