Billy Lunn (guitar/vocals) told Rock Sound magazine about this song, which was the second single released from the All or Nothing album: "It's just a song about struggle, basically. It's about everything that's gone on in this band. We truly believe that, 'Every single second is another chance for you to turn it all around.' It's a quote from Penelope Cruz's character in Vanilla Sky. You've got to keep going and believe that you can turn it all around. It's like the cycle of life. It's going to go up sometimes and it's going to go down sometimes. I think that's our poppiest song."
The All or Nothing album was produced by Butch Vig, who is best known for being the drummer for the rock band Garbage and his production work for Nirvana (including "Smells Like Teen Spirit") and Smashing Pumpkins.
The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."