In Spring 2007, Carpenter fell badly ill with blood clots in her lungs. She was forced to cancel her summer tour to recover, and the singer fell into a depression as she felt she'd let everyone down. This song reflects that dark period in her life. She explained to Express Night Out: "'Iceland' is obviously not about the country Iceland. It's a metaphor for darkness, cold, alienation, loss, disconnection. It's my attempt to write about what happened to me getting sick three years ago and the sense of dislocation and depression and fear - terrible fear - that happened."