Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon opens his debut solo album with this optimistic song. Although Painkillers was recorded after the announcement that Fallon's band was entering a hiatus for an indefinite period, the singer is not blind to the fact this tune would have fitted perfectly onto their American Slang album. "I was aware that people were going to say 'Well, this sounds a lot like Gaslight…' Of course it does, because it's me! But part of the reason we stopped Gaslight is that Gaslight can't do that anymore, because that's not Gaslight, that part of Gaslight is 100% from me," he told TeamRock.
"So doing it on my own is me returning to what I love about music. I definitely paused for a second and was like 'Do I change this?' And I thought 'No, because this is what I want to do, and that's what I feel in my heart so I'm just going to be honest and do it.' I think if Gaslight did that song it would sound different… and I know that because I'm in the band! But I also thought it's going to sound like Gaslight because that is me and this is me and that's okay."
Fallon performed "A Wonderful Life" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on March 10, 2016.