Frontwoman Bethany Cosentino asks in this song, "When did my life stop being so fun?" before going on to complain that she feels lonely, homesick and tired. Speaking with Lucy Jones of the Daily Telegraph, Cosentino explained the lyrics reflected her frame of mind following the success of Best Coast's debut set, Crazy For You. "Our first record was so successful and I thought 'I'm never going to be able to make something that good again,'" she said. "My life became very chaotic. The success of the band really changed things for me, my friendships, living situation. Everything went from being standard and normal for 22 years to being flipped on its head. I never had a chance to let it all sink in and deal with it. A lot of the new songs are written from perspective of a girl who is very self-conscious and confused."
Fall Out Boy's "The Kids Aren't Alright" song title is not a reference to The Offspring's 1998 single of the same name. It actually alludes to The Who's 1979 rockumentary film called The Kids Are Alright.