NeedtoBreathe's lead singer Bear Rinehart reflected on the inspiration for the song during an interview with the Air1 Christian radio network:
"[It's] really about the sacrifices we have to make in order to change. I think that everyone who had to make major decisions in their lives knows that change is only worth it when you make the change for the right reasons.
Happiness, after all, is clearly a fleeting thing; but, purpose is what brings real joy. In this band, we've been forced to make countless decisions about our schedules or plans that definitely mean a sacrifice for our families. And, that can be tough. But, I think this song and my life have shown me that the people who really do love you want you to pursue your passions and the things that God wants you to do."
The song featured in a 2016 Microsoft TV and online advertising campaign plugging their white space internet.
The video was directed by Noble Jones (Taylor Swift, OneRepublic, Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban) and shot overnight in the streets of Downtown Los Angeles. "Happiness was a lot of fun to make," said Bear Rinehart. "Who doesn't want to run around the streets of LA in the dead of night? It's also the first video we've ever gotten to show off our athletic skills."
Fall Out Boy's "The Kids Aren't Alright" song title is not a reference to The Offspring's 1998 single of the same name. It actually alludes to The Who's 1979 rockumentary film called The Kids Are Alright.