This is one of the more straightforward Natalie Merchant songs. She explained in her VH1 Storytellers special: "I'm proud of the song because I always wanted to write a song that had an extremely universal, simple sentiment. And just gratitude, that's all this song is about and really I feel like I accomplished my mission: simple, to the point. And everyone knows what I'm talking about the first time they hear the song, and they can sing along."
The chorus doesn't contain any actual words, just a bunch of "la la la"s. Kylie Minogue had a hit song with a chorus of "la la"s in 2002 with "Can't Get You Out Of My Head
The song fades out with Merchant repeating "thank you" about 30 times. There was a lot of thanking going on around this time among female pop singers: Alanis Morissette had a hit with "Thank U
" and Dido with "Thank You
Merchant's label, Elektra, didn't make any songs from Ophelia available for sale as singles - a common tactic in 1998 to boost record sales. The song was released to radio and MTV to promote it, and reached #18 on the Airplay chart. Billboard rules made it ineligible for the Hot 100 because it was not sold as a single.
In the season 3 finale of The Office, "The Job," Michael Scott thinks he's landed a new job and uses this song to say goodbye to the Dunder Mifflin Scranton staff. It was also used on the TV shows Swamp Thing in the 2019 episodes "The Anatomy Lesson" and "He Speaks" and Parks and Recreation in the 2013 episode "The Cones Of Dunshire."
Merchant sang this on the May 2, 1998 episode of Saturday Night Live.