When Nada Surf lead singer/guitarist Matthew Caws was young, his parents, both university professors, were based in New York City. This slow-building song from the band's seventh studio album The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy is about his childhood in the Big Apple.
The song's music video was filmed and directed by Phil Harder in New York City. Caws told Spinner: "Because 'When I Was Young' is about my childhood I thought a video about a kid growing up in New York would be great. The only suggestions that went out to Phil were a kid growing up in New York and The Royal Tenenbaums. But he really got it right and more, suggesting and nailing things about childhood that I would not have been able to express."