Despite its Eighties-inspired sound, the song fights against nostalgia. “I refuse to look back thinking days were better/ Just because they’re younger days,” Ryan Tedder sings on the track’s chorus. Throughout the song, Tedder compares how good things are now to what they were like back then when they were more carefree.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Tedder said that the song was inspired by M83. “It’s a conscious departure,” he said. “As an artist or musician, if you’re not poking or needling or pushing the envelope to see if it pops, you’re not doing it right. Whatever our sound is — and I don’t think we have a dyed-in-the-wool sound — this album is by far our most evolved.”
Over the past several years, Tedder has made a name for himself as a hit songwriter, penning tracks with and for artists like Beyoncé and Adele. On the upcoming OneRepublic album, collaborations with Peter Gabriel and Pharrell will be featured.