Jim Adkins is taking pills in “Pain” to rid himself of of his mediocrity.
Happiness, even for a second, is a strange emotion. He hasn’t felt much of anything in a long while except for dread. (“I don’t feel the way I’ve ever felt, I know/I’m gonna smile and not get worried/I try but it shows”). He hasn’t made anything groundbreaking and whatever he has done, others can do better. He’s average but he rather be something more. (“Anyone can make what I have built/And better now”). Other people can also take the drugs he’s taking and have the same reaction. But those pills make him feel special. (“Anyone can find the same white pills/It takes my pain away”).
The pills give him an artificial satsification with his life. But he tries to not think about that and enjoys the high. He brushes off his doubts by saying people live in a fast paced world and things change on a dime anyway. (“It’s a lie. A kiss with open eyes/And she’s not breathing back…It takes my pain away/Nevermind these are hurried times…I can’t let it bother me”).
He stopped taking the pills again. He’s quit countless times but keeps returning to the drugs in order to deal with his disappointments. People can now see his faults which he was able to keep hidden with the drugs. He notes many people have said they’ve conquered their addictions in life but didn’t really mean it. But for him, he doesn’t care. (“I never thought I’d walk away from you/I did/But it’s a false sense of accomplishment/Everytime I quit….Anyone can see my every flaw/It isn’t hard/Anyone can say they’re above this all/It takes my pain away”). He rather have a fake optimistic outlook on life. He wants to believe that with the drugs he’s smart and unique than deal with the reality that he’s normal.
After the poppy and cheerful confident booster, “The Middle,” it’s tough to buy Jimmy Eat World as a dark, edgy rock band.