This was released as the first single from the eponymous sophomore album by Australian indie-rockers, Temper Trap. Bassist Jonathon Aherne told Alternative Addiction that both the band and record labels felt confident in choosing it as the first single. "The labels in the states were pretty adamant that it should definitely be the first single and it felt right to choose that as the first single," he said. "It would be difficult to go back to that song because musically speaking, it's probably one of the more upbeat and bright songs while the rest of the tracks have a little bit more of a serious tone so I'm glad we chose it."
The Dugan O'Neill directed video's concept was inspired by the 1984 movie, The Karate Kid. The band quickly agreed to proceed with O'Neill's scenario as soon as they learned of his vision for the clip. "We as a band argue over a lot of things and fine tune every detail," Aherne told Alternative Addiction, "but as soon as we saw it was sort of based off The Karate Kid and the redemption of Johnny, you know the bully of the story… there wasn't even a blink of an eye, we knew we had to go for it. We're just really excited about it."
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."