Unwell

Album: More Than You Think You Are (2003)
Charted: 5

Songfacts®:

  • This was written by Matchbox Twenty lead singer Rob Thomas. On the live DVD Show, he explains that this song is about people who are "F--ked up and feel alone like that," adding, "We all feel a little f--ked up sometimes... you're not alone." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Wareham, MA
  • In an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Thomas said: "'Unwell' is about having a despondent relationship with yourself. In the end, it's a positive song, because you come to terms with the fact you're not crazy."
  • The Meiert Avis-directed music video follows Rob Thomas through a psychotic episode that includes driving around town with an animated dog while being pursued by A Clockwork Orange-inspired characters. The band chose the director's treatment over many other submissions because it was the weirdest. Avis also directed clips for U2 and Bruce Springsteen, among others.
  • The lyrics center on Thomas coming to terms with how uncomfortable he felt as a rock star. He recalled the story behind the song in a Genius attribution:

    "We were going into our third record. It came from the idea of still not feeling comfortable in my own skin, and the job sometimes even less so. I was always very comfortable in small groups, and I was always very comfortable on a stage. And then never comfortable in the group. You'd do things where you're out and amongst, and I was never really comfortable.

    That led me to having really crazy panic attacks and having to figure out a way to get all of that under control. Once I started to get older, once I started to grow up, the fabrication that I'd made of how comfortable I was and how secure I was in myself started to go away. I was left with the reality I need to deal with how uncomfortable I am at all times, how unsure of myself I am, every word that comes out of my mouth, in every situation. 'Unwell' was the beginning of that for me."
  • The song features some a six string banjo played by Matchbox Twenty multi-instrumentalist Paul Doucette. Thomas recalled:

    "It was kind of awesome, because at the time, everything was either Ludacris and Nelly or boy bands. And then we were hanging in there with a song with a banjo in the intro. That felt like a little win for us.

    When I wrote that song, it was a much faster song. It was Paul who was like,'It's like that, like you're playing it on the piano. Slow it down there.' It made all those lyrics seem a little more poignant. A lot more longing to it then it would have. I think I wanted it to sound like a Nelly song."
  • When the band released More Than You Think You Are, Thomas stated it was the first time they really understood their identity. He elaborated in a 2020 Songfacts interview: "When you make your first record you are doing on-the-job training. The best you can hope for is to make the best record you can, but it's all learn as you go. The second record you know a little more, but you think you know everything and we maybe went a little overboard with giant orchestras and spent a lot of money and maybe overproduced a little. By the time we did More Than You Think You Are we were a solid live band with a sense of who we were. That said, looking back, the truth was whatever the first two albums were was who we were too."

Comments: 22

  • Dan from Great Falls, MtI recently lost my mom last Sunday and this has been a song that has been in my head ever since.. I'm not crazy, I know I am very sad, yet at the same time all in all, I am unwell..
  • Phoenix from ChicagoThis song is helping me deal with my current major depression and generalized anxiety. It's one of the only songs that encompasses how I feel.
  • Jennifer from New Jersey How it the meaning of this song? I’m trying to figure out what is means ? I woke up with this song in my had
  • Heather Boone from Huntsville AlI'm currently about to be 40 yrs old. When I was 13 I was apparently diagnosed with bipolar1. Unfortunately, I am from the south where your mom makes you act like a lady at all cost and I was never told about my sickness. I went through my teenage years with troubles I thought were going to be the death of me for sure. At the age 20 I had my first child and was trying to live what society calls a normal life. As everyone knows that is impossible with bipolar especially bipolar 1. Anyway, I had found music, lyrics, and singing as loud as I could when I felt this change happening in me either it be the manic Heather or the depressed Heather. By the age 24 or 25 I had attempted suicide 3 times and been hospitalized all 3 times. Still not knowing something was actually wrong with me. My mother past away never telling me what was wrong with me all she ever said was I got all my abnormal features from my father's side of the family. Which she was probably right. Long story short without Matchbox 20 in my early 20's I would have probably never made it to even find out what was wrong with me. Unwell speaks a Truth most people try to hide. Now my middle child is 14 and has been diagnosed with depression they don't like to diagnose bipolar that young now a days I have played this for her to show her that there is so many more like her and myself out here in this world and she will definetly make it through this battle.
  • Tara Scheibel from ArizonaI was diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder at age 32. All my life I knew I was extremely different and once diagnosed, I finally understood it! Now, at 47, I look back at my pre-diagnosis days and that's where this song really hits me! Every word in this song describes my life! I hold this song close to my heart and share it at every opportunity, hoping that I can show others how my mental illness feels, so people can be more empathetic, compassionate and to reduce the stigma around mental illness.
  • Tony from Mt.ephraim, NjI'm an old rocker (59) and always had a good job until lately. I lost all my savings in a business and have had a problem since then (3 years) with any motivation and even doing anything that I used to love. I have lost all my love for life. I have the most wonderful wife and family and if it wasn't for that I would have put a bullet in my head awhile ago. The saddest thing about this is I used to be the complete opposite of this, always positive, wanting to do things any time any where and always making people laugh.
    Now I'm unemployed and just fighting the demon even more.
    My wife sent me this link and I didn't know what song this was until I listened to it and of course I had heard this song many times before but this time after reading the reason it was written and everyone's comments it meant so much more then just a song. I'm going to listen to this song at least once a day and most likely even more.
    Thank you Rob for writing this song and helping so many people going through their own problems. It's going to help me so very much.
    Anyone who is going through what I am can email me anytime to just let loose and help relieve the frustration.
    (tobot2@aol.com)
    Thanks again and try to hang in there, I'm trying and this song is helping.
    Tony
  • Andie from Tucson/atxUnwell will always be one of my favorite songs by Matchbox Twenty. I listen to it whenever I feel let down and while it doesn't always make me feel 100% better, it does give me a little confidence boost. :)
  • Bden322 from Jeddah, Saudi ArabiaI feel like this song is talking about me, my life. Nobody knows me well, they just have to stay a while to see a different side of me. I'm going to cry!!!
  • Emmy from Bellville, OnI Love this song
  • Martin from Fresno, CaWonderful song.It reminds us to treat everyone with compassion and kindness.It also is a reminder that there are reasons why everyone is the way thay are.
  • Dave from Bend, OrFirst time I heard this song i was tweeking really bad. Not only did I think they were watching me but I thought they were singing about me too.
  • Phantom from Danville, KyI love this song. I first heard it in a store and started crying. It reminded me so much of my life. I have Disorganized Schizophrenia. It is such a good song. I feel like saying that to people all the time . Saying I'm not crazy, please just take the time to get to know me. Then you'll see, I'm just sick. Then I heard that song and it was like they were reading my mind. I cannot say enough praise for this song. Maybe someone does understand me! 8)
  • Valerie from Vancouver, BcMatchbox Twenty has to be my FAVORITE band! This is my fav. MB20 song, this and If You're Gone. Its awesome, Rob Thomas is AMAZING! He's such a good writer, his voice is awesome. There has never been a MB20 song I didn't like. Love them. :)
  • Doctor Gregory House from Princeton-plainsboro, NjReally good song from Matchbox Twenty. It would fit in perfectly with season six of House.
  • Hope from Naperville, Ilit has to do with Rob Thomas's paranoia. it puts an exact feeling perfectly into words.
  • J.r. from Crowville, WaThis song is about feeling alone or isolated from the rest of the world because they see you as not
    all there. I can relate.
  • Ryan from Orlando, Flthis song relates to the ups and downs of my life and most people's. im bipolar, but i think of it more as a gift than a disorder. this song makes me look at myself when im on a down and realize that it is just a phase, and it always puts a smile on my face to know that there is hope.
  • Steve from Boston, MaThis is one of the many great songs by Matchbox, the lyrics alone mean everything to me. When I first heard this song I realized it's the epitome of my life. The life of a schizophrenic. You wouldn't understand from this point of view unless you had this hellish sickness yourself. The lyrics fit right into the puzzle.
  • Kitty from Vancouver, BcI love this song! I can relate to it. It was the first song I ever heard by Matchbox 20 and it got me totally hooked on them!!!
  • Ed from West Grove , PaI'll go with the songfacts, who could argue.

    I think if you can at all relate to the song, well, you know you're f'd up.

    Having been in this position for the past 12 months, and having just discovered the song, all I can say is it is uncanny. I know all the reasons why this song relates to me. I know I'm not alone. But, that doesn't make it any easier. It just makes it what it is.

    Thanks Rob Thomas, for putting my feelings into words better than I could myself. I've certainly said all the same things, but not quite so eloquently.
  • Katie from Bristol, TnI think everyone is messed up in the head, some more than others. But I love this song
  • Bryan from Spring, TxGreat song. It came out during a time in my life when I was a little unwell myself.
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