This is the first single from All Things Bright and Beautiful, the third album by Owl City, the electropop project of singer-songwriter Adam Young. The song was written by Adam Young and Los Angeles rapper Shawn Chrystopher, who is also featured on the track.
The song finds Young singing about the power of imagination, "Where was I when the rockets came to life / And carried you away into the alligator sky / Even though I'll never know what's up ahead / I'm never lettin' go, I'm never lettin' go," he croons.
All Things Bright and Beautiful finds Young pulling in other threads and different flavors after the whimsical electronic feel of Ocean Eyes. He discussed in an interview with AOL how he experimented with some new sounds on this song: "I wanted to take a few left turns on the record just to sort of separate the sound from the last record and really come up with a couple different rabbit holes and a couple of different sore thumbs just to stand out. So much what I've tried to do with the new record was not to think of a sophomore release based on a freshman record that was more successful than any of us thought it would be. So ['Alligator Sky'] was where I wanted to pull this sort of hip-hop vibe. I'm a big fan of the way hip-hop music is put together and everything that goes into it -- being so beat-heavy and just focusing on the rhythm side of it, sometimes more than melody. But I wanted to marry those two ideas and just focus on the rhythm side of it then have this rapper do verses just as a new look to it."
The album was titled after both the Anglican hymn and the semi-autobiographical book by British veterinary surgeon and writer James Herriot. Young explained why in an interview with Christianity Today magazine: "I was raised singing the hymn in church, and my mother was a huge fan of Herriot's literary works and always had them around the house. The title was floating around in my head for who knows how long before I put two and two together and said, 'That's it. That's what the new record has to be called.'"