The song was recorded during the recording sessions for the Nine Inch Nails greatest hits album, along with another song, "Satellite". These sessions gave way to more songs and ended up yielding an entire album.
From an interview with The Sun, Trent Reznor said the following about the track: "I was trying to make something that leapt out of the speakers in a very unfamiliar way. At first listen, it might seem to be in praise of life but it's supposed to come off as an arrogant, 'Fuck you. I've survived!' It also gets less triumphant and more reflective and melancholy towards the end."
Reznor went on to state, in another interview with The News & Observer: "There were a few moments of this album where I expected eyebrows to raise", Reznor says. "But that actually was not one of them. To me, 'Everything' is a descendant of Fear and Joy Division and New Order. Somehow, that song has become representative of this as my 'happy album,' although I don't hear it as such. It's certainly not meant to make you feel like, 'Look at how great everything is!' But it seems to be the shocking moment of the record. We've not played it onstage, only in rehearsals. It's become an irritant to me."