Fran Healy is the lead singer of the Scottish band Travis. This is the first single to be taken from Wreckorder, which is his debut solo album.
The song is based on a personal tale of a blunder Healy made when in love. He explained to Spin magazine: "'Buttercups' came from an experience in my art school days when a girlfriend turned her nose up at some picked flowers I brought. I couldn't afford fancy roses and thought these would be even better and more romantic. She didn't think so. That relationship didn't last long. Puh!"
The third verse of "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies ("they shook and lurched all over the church floor...") was inspired by girl whose parents would speak in tongues at their Pentecostal service.