On the HBO show Reverb
, Stephan Jenkins
of Third Eye Blind described this song as "The emotional side of mortality, as played on a zither." He explained: "'How's It Going to Be' started with an autoharp that Kevin was playing. It's an antique instrument, and it inspired a nostalgic, emotional condition in me. And the lyrics really came out of that very quickly. I think the song's just about the fear you have when you've been close friends and that gets knocked back to becoming acquaintances again. So I think it's sort of a song about the emotional side of mortality."