I found — or maybe she found me — the love of my life at the start of the Lovely Little Lonely Tour and have been extremely happy with my relationship for the past couple of years. But as a person, as an individual, I ended up stumbling upon some of those same feelings of anxiety and worry and dread at the start of writing this record. I think it just was a culmination of stress and thinking, “How much longer can I do this?” I was moving into a new place and worrying if I was going to be able to afford rent and all this shit. It just felt like the enormity of the world was solely resting on my shoulders. Going to write this record, it was like, “I don’t know what the fuck I’m going to do.” You Are OK sort of walked out.
There are some things that come stock with being a human. For example, youthfulness is an inherent birthmark that time can never truly erase. The Maine’s 2017 release, Lovely, Little, Lonely, reminded us that loneliness is not a feeling exhibited exclusively by those who happen to be alone. But if that piercing solitude is just one more needle somehow stitching us to one another, then why is it still so easy to feel so … isolated? It’s the thousand-yard stare into your reflection with that prospective new shirt on. The nights spent laying just a little too still, the ones that can only be described as hours of staring into the back of your eyelids. The heart-fluttering hesitation in confronting yourself with the question “is this where I want to be?” In the end, the sentiment of inadequacy will always remain an individual cross to bear. It’s a distinct brand of discomfort that illusively seems to stem from a series of our commonalities as humans, but that, in reality, is near impossible to divorce from our unique personal experiences.
And let’s be real: the past few years have given us every reason to become lost in that discomfort. Often in a perpetual state of examining the importance of mental health while becoming increasingly aware of the very things that deteriorate it.
I’m not sure I’ll ever forget the day I walked into our studio knowing I was about to quit The Maine. Thinking back on it now, it was like a tense scene in a movie: We were early on in the writing for You Are OK. I was sitting in a chair in the control room, guitar in hand. John’s demos were playing through the speakers, and I was trying to think of what I could do to add to the song — but the only thing going through my head was static.