This song was written by frontman Gary Lightbody about his younger days when he spent too much time getting drunk and creating chaos. After one crazed night of drinking, the singer fell down the stairs at the Glasgow School Of Art cracking his head open and knocking himself out. Lightbody told The Sun October 17, 2008: "Very scary times. That song is about my mid-twenties, when I definitely had a disaster button. It was very easily pushed and all around me turned to calamity very fast. It's me looking back on a few specific incidents where I could have handled myself a little better."
Lightbody told the Irish public broadcaster RTE: "It's about losing the run of yourself, as simple as that really. I'm not glorifying anything, quite the opposite. The female figure in it is the benchmark of cool, calm and aspriational. All the women in my songs tend to be just that as it is very often me that is the opposite."
"What's Up" by 4 Non Blondes has endured as one of the most popular songs of the '90s, but it wasn't a huge hit at the time and the band split after one album. Frontwoman Linda Perry went on to write hits for Pink and Christina Aguilera.