This track finds Julian Casablancas drawling about leaving a relationship as his lover wants to settle down and just be a normal family. He looks back to the days where he could sleep until noon, but now has to get up early to fulfill his duties. "While she's asleep. It isn't right," he adds, "But it isn't hard."
A number of reviewers compared the song's busy synth line to that of a-ha's '80s chart-topper "Take On Me."
Guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. commented to NME regarding the song: "To me it feels sad, but it feels good that it's sad. I imagine we sound different from the first record. It's a different time in life."
"Islands in the Stream" was originally written by The Bee Gees as an R&B song. It was originally written by the brothers for Marvin Gaye, however it was recorded instead as a duet by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton with the Gibb Brothers also contributing vocals.