Nate Ruess told Rolling Stone the story behind this somber ballad: "It's an interesting track because I usually hear a song in my head and then work on it after I've already finished it," he said. "I usually don't take chords that other people play and then put lyrics and melody over it."
"One day, Emile [Haynie, co-producer] played the music to 'Take It Back,' and I was just blown away about it and started singing something on the spot," Ruess continued. "I made some adjustments over the next few days, only hearing Emile's version once. It was my second take at the end of the night a few days later - I was a little drunk - and that's the version you hear. I hadn't written any lyrics other than 'take it back.' It was all freestyle, trying to do my best Van Morrison impression and just trying to add a little bit of soul to the track."
Many of the lyrics on Grand Romantic are inspired by Ruess' relationship with fashion designer Charlotte Ronson. This song finds him declaring, "Every single black eye has some blue." The fun. frontman said the relationship has brought him a new outlook on life. "For so long I had this chip on my shoulder, but when everything's going great, the chip kind of disappears," he told Rolling Stone. "I want everything to work out with this album, because I love it, but at the end of the night, I end up in bed with one person, and that's what puts me to sleep."
The song is punctuated by a guitar solo courtesy of Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. "Getting that from him was the biggest gift of my life," Ruess laughed. "Emile and Jeff (Bhasker, co-producer) both kind of fell to the floor after they heard it."