Scarecrow was Mellencamp's eighth album, and by then he had paid his dues to become one of the most successful musicians in America. Despite his triumphs, he was going through severe emotional difficulties, including a panic disorder. In this song, he explores that dichotomy - how success can simply amplify your emotions, both good and bad.
Mellencamp has a notorious temper, which he says is the result of a condition he suffered from as a child: Spina bifida. "I had a hole in my spine and all my nerve endings were on the outside of my body," he told Rolling Stone. "They were all exposed to air, so it's no wonder I go up and down so quickly."
The song "Sadeness" by Enigma (the one with the chanting monks), got its name from the French novelist Marquis de Sade, who believed sex had to be painful in order to be pleasurable - thus the word "sadism."