I'm Not Okay (I Promise)

Album: Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge (2004)
Charted: 19 86
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  • In this song, a boy loves a girl very much, and she likes him as well, but not enough to break up with her boyfriend to be with only him. The two sneak around, and continue to do so though her boyfriend has nearly caught them multiple times ("Remember when you broke your foot from jumping out the second floor"). But there is jealousy when the boy sees the girl with her boyfriend ("For all the dirty looks, the photographs your boyfriend took"). His many attempts at convincing her to break off her relationship with her boyfriend fall short ("What will it take to show you that it's not the life it seems"). He finally tells her he will no longer sneak around ("I held you close as we both shook for the last time, Take a good hard look") because it wears him out to deal with the secrecy ("You wear me out"). She makes attempts at charming him into staying, but he no longer falls for her acts ("Another line without a hook"). But he is still heartbroken ("I'm not okay"), because he did love her very much. As much as he tells her he is all right ("But you really need to listen to me, because I'm telling you the truth, I mean this, I'm okay, trust me"), he is not. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kim - Long Island, NY
  • This was inspired by lead singer Gerard Way's experience in high school. He was really in love with this girl, but he found all of these photographs she had taken with her boyfriend, and Gerard felt really upset. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    David - Calgary, Canada
  • This song ties into the concept of the CD. A man and woman (Helena) get in a car crash and the man dies (and goes to hell) but the woman survives (even though the man at first thinks she's dead as well). The man has to kill 1000 evil souls to be with Helena again. So, this song could also be about the man not being okay. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    tanya - Botswana
  • Before playing this as an encore during their 2005 American tour, Gerard Way would say that this is a song for anyone who has ever been unfaithful, or has ever had their heart broken. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Michael - Dallas, TX
  • The lyrics, "You sing the words but you don't know what it means to be a joke and look another line without a hook" are saying that other bands may sing about being nerdy and bullied, but they don't actually know how that feels. "You said you read me like a book, but the pages are all torn and frayed" means that she thinks she knows everything about him, but he's a lot more complicated than she thinks he is. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Rhiannon - Manchester, England
  • This was a breakthrough single for My Chemical Romance. "The lyric, 'I'm not okay' was a declaration from me," Gerard Way told Kerrang! "It was a declaration for kids who would become our fans that, you know what, everything's not okay. It became an anthem because of that."
  • The band rarely dealt with their label, Warner Bros, while working on the album, which led to some issues after it was finished. According to Craig Aaronson, an A&R man at the label who was one of the few execs to love the album, results were mixed among the rest, who thought the songs were too off-center for radio. They showed a lukewarm interest in "I'm Not Okay," which became the lead single.

    "They said they'd give it a run, but no one was jumping up and down at all," Aaronson recalled in Tom Bryant's book Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance. "The expectations for it were very moderate - low to moderate, I'd say. 'I was like, 'Are you guys f--king kidding me? This is a top five single.' I knew it in my bones but the company was not so sure. They wanted to dip their toe in the water and see how people were responding."

    Aaronson's hunch was right. The single was a big hit for the band, peaking at #4 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.
  • The band embarked on their tour three months before the album's June 2004 release date, leaving producer Howard Benson to deal with the unmixed tracks, but luckily he had help from seasoned producer/mixer Rick Costey. "I was left having to do a lot of the mixing myself," Benson explained in Bryant's MCR bio, "and that caused a few conflicts because the band has to be there for that because I can't read their minds. I didn't know where I was going for a moment there and we were very lucky that Rick Costey mixed four of the big songs. I was left mixing the rest and I could follow what he'd done."
  • My Chemical Romance played its first concert in seven years on December 20, 2019 at the Shrine Expo Hall in Los Angeles. They kicked off the show with this song.

Comments: 79

  • Nadia from Woodstock OnRemember when you broke your foot from jumping out the second floor, is actually talking about an etempted suicide
  • Alexis from United Stateswhats the message behind this song?
  • Rae from Buxton, NcI love this song, and not to make me sound shallow, but I think Gerard Way is the cutest boy I have ever seen in my life.
  • Stacey from Glasgow, United Kingdommy chemical romance are great, love gerard way, he's gorge. feel sorry for him as he got tortured in high school, wee shame. he's how with black hair and red. not keen on the white, thought, must say, MCR is not as good as Green Day, it is a fact
  • Stacey from Glasgow, United Kingdommy chemical romance are great, love gerard way, he's gorge. feel sorry for him as he got tortured in high school, wee shame. he's how with black hair and red. not keen on the white, thought, must say, MCR is not as good as Green Day, it is a fact
  • Vicky from Chesapeake, Vai love wen frank acts like he is going to kiss the blondie.... and then he get watever was in her eye and didnt care that he hurt her eye , and left her sitting there alone ! ha ha haha!!!! !!! !!!!
  • Emily from Yorkshire, United KingdomI don't think it's about just high school outcasts despite the fact that the video is set in a school, but about outcasts everywhere. This song really helped me to sit up and realise that actually...it's not okay, and i dont need to pretend it is anymore. f--k you world x
  • Sarah from Clovis, NmOMG I can't believe that Bob left MCR!! :( SO SAD!
  • Sarah from Clovis, NmKelsey From Nw York, i don't think that that was his intention when he was writing thissong at all in fact he, especially him does not think that the work revolves around him but maybe you do. I'm just saying.
  • Melissa from Liverpool, United KingdomI think this song is basically YES from high school,and I think that it is basically about gerards crush from high school who took sleezy photos but I also think its about all the strugles as a teenager.
  • Luke from Durban, South AfricaBasically all you people who don't like My Chemical Romance need to grow up and learn a little about life. i mean open your eyes people THEY ARE RIGHT!!! not everyone's life is perfect and life would suck if it was so why don't you all get over yourselves and actually try listenning to their music. you might actually lern something. oh, and all those people who DO like MCR well i just gotta say you are all ok ;)
  • Unevnelig from Berea, Ky, United KingdomSophie, "Both our cars collide" was a metephor for meeting again in the afterlife, becuase that song is for Gerard and Mikey's Grandmother who passed away. The full lyric is "We'll meet again, when both our cars collide." I think the male character in the concept did get shot in a resteraunt, as "You Know What They do to Guys Like us in Prison" hints at (In the middle of a gunfight, in the center of a restaraunt), but I think it's all how you look at it.
  • A from Byram, Nji think that, other then being about gerard way's highschool experiences, this song is about highschool outcasts in general. to me i think it's about a kid who is really frustrated with life, but decides to pretend that he's okay (i'm okay, trust me)and do his own thing, rather than listening to what other people think because they really don't understand him (you sing the words but don't know what it means...)
  • Diana from Ridgefield, Ctlove this song! when of my all-time favorites
  • Kristin from Baltimore, Mdthe lyrics "the photographs your boyfriend took" were originally "and never mind the drugs you took"
  • Latasha from Austin, TxMCR=♥
    nuff said
  • Z from Seattle, WaI would just like to share an experience that I think is kind of like this song-ish: in fifth grade a girl was always saying mean things about everyone when they weren't around, me included. Me especially. I had just moved to WA the year before and I knew about 3 people (I'm not very social) and this girl was being such an *** to everyone and every time she would harass me I would try to brush it off and ignore it. I would lock it inside for months and I wouldn't let myself show any emotion about it. Eventually I exploded like water mixed with boiling hydrochloride (I'm a dork, I know) and I lost it. I wrote a furious haye note and she actually cried, and I cried, and we all just blew up like landmines. I sort of know how Gerard was feeling. Kelsie, I know he isn't the only one who ever had problems in school, but he probably had an experience similar to mine, where he couldn't take it anymore and he blew up and never really got over it, because it hurt that badly.
  • Kelsie from Medina, NyI really do like this song, but when I read this:
    "....are saying that other bands may sing about being nerdy and bullied, but they don't actually know how that feels."
    that kind of makes me mad. it just seems kind of selfish to me, like they think the world revolves around them. someone wouldn't write a song about something if they don't know what it feels like, gerard way, stop acting like you're the only one that was made fun of in high school.
  • Alyssa from Forney, TxReally good song
    I think the video shows alot of creativity
    Very cool =]
  • Skyttles from Poolpartytopia, Czech RepublicWhy are all these MCR haters on here?? Its SOO pointless to look a band and just trash them (when in fact you know they are the best think ever)

    OH and just a note...MCR IS NOT EMO!!! look up "Why Mcr isnt emo" on youtube...Gerard says it himself!!!
  • Brooke from Radcliff, KyMY CHEMICAL ROMANCE SUX!
  • Emily from Queensland, Australiai knew all along that this song was about when gee had a crush on this girl at school and he found rude picture of her and her boyfriend and he was heartbroken and its also about him being bullied at school .MCR rock!
  • Chelsea from Bedias, Txi love every thing about the song the video its amazing ilove the whole cd its just wow
  • Angela from Cartersville, GaI love this song it's my favorite of all of them. I think you should die your hair black again and grow it long keep on rook'en
  • Patrick from Northfleet, EuropeGerard was in 'love' with this girl at school and her boyfriend took rude pictures of her and they were on the internet

    [Helena was Gerards late grandmother]
  • Charlotte from Wenatchee, WaI love this song so much i can't even describe it. This song could...like ...change the world, for Pete's sake! This song is so AMAZING! It inspired me to do something i never could get myself to do. In my free time I always put on music and my first choice is always MCR! My sister says I'm crazy but I say I'm just addicted in the highest level. Gerard could change the world with just his looks and I love that he died his hair to stand out at the Black Parade. Gee rox my sox, as does Mikey. I like the drummer too(don't get me wrong for not knowing his name), I haven't really looked into looking for his name but I know I will never forget Gerard and Mikey Way. I like the fact that they're brothers and in the same Alternative & Punk band. I don't know why, but I'd have to say that the must except eachother alo (unlike my sisters and I). Anyway...MCR should totally be a legend like Led Zepplin and Elvis or something!
  • Charlotte from Wenatchee, WaI love MCR's album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and Welcome to the Black Parade. Gee is way cuter when he ahs black hair (sorry platinum lovers), and his voice is deeper now (look on the interviews). Mikey is way cuter now. OMG, yeah!
  • Vicki from Canton, MiI love this song and the music video is cute and funny! And the other I'm Not Okay video on their web site is a movie of some of the Way home videos. It's cute seeing Gee and Mikey as kids. (you'll see the others off and on in it.)So it could also mean that their not okay because they're homesick on the road and miss New Jersey.
  • Sean from Vero Beach, FlI love this song...mostly cause I can relate..this girl hurt me but I told her I was fine even when I wasn't
  • Ang from St. Louis, MoThis song AWESOME and MCR ROCKS!!! I feel like I can relate to this song and music video and they have really helped me through some tough times. I am pretty much a loser at my school and all the popular people think that they rule the school and are better then me and my few friends. The video is basicly about the band members being pushed around by the preps and jocks and are "not okay" with it. At the end it shows them fighting back. I wish something could change at our school...
  • Aliya from Rocklin, CaI agree with alty. about the heartbroken part...not the jumping part.
  • Ali from Oxford, PaI love the music video for this song, although lyrically, it isn't one their greatest. The guitar solo may be a bit basic, but it's quite catchy, and the song makes it hard not to get up and dance. My favorite song from them is The Jetset Life Is Gonna Kill You. People who hate them or at least think they are crap should check it out, it really is one of their greatest songs.
  • Amber from New York, Nyi thought tht it was about a girl who was using him but didnt want to start a relationship and she always asked are you sure you're ok? you promise? and he would always say yes.... hence the song title "i'm not okay (i promise)" but i guess i was wrong :-/
  • Katie from Temecula, Cafyi its not frank who says trust me its gerard
  • Katie from Temecula, Cathis song is amazing!!!!its about when gerard was in high school and he liked this girl then she took some really sleezy pics with her boyfriend and gerard is herat broken and thats why hes saying im not okay.... its also about just not really feeling understood and being left out
  • Brodie from Melbourne - Victoria, Australiai love sponge bob too
  • Yoseph from Cupertino, CaThe video was hilarious, but i didnt like the song.
  • Ollie from London, Englandits not cool to be depressed.

    however, it is hip to be square

    lol. sorry i love that; from sponge bob squarepants.

    yeah; im a dork whateverr
  • Brian from ?, PaThis is probably my favorite My Chemical Romance song...it's awesome!!
  • Jordyn from Ogden, UtThe music video rocks. I love when they tackle the mascot. And Gerard is just playin croquet.
  • Roberto from Lima, Peruthere are lots and lots of menanings for every song but the concept album of this is about this:
    as you all know the concept album is about a couple of criminals the girl(helena)dies in a car crash and the man makes a pact with the devil that says i he kills 1000 evil mans he would be able to return with helena and the songs of he CD (not all) tell how is the person killing:

    -In to the End he kills a coupele that is going to get married but the man is gay and the girl is a gold digger

    -In you know what they do to guys like us in prison he kills some gay criminals and the song is about the gay criminals

    -In Im not ok he kills a boy that is discrimianted in his school doesnt have many friends and the girl he likes is a slut like some of you said in commentaries above so he enters his school and shoot everyone screaming im not ok

    -(im not sure about this) In cemetery Drive he kills a women who is cheating on her husband

    listen carefully to the lyrics and you will see
    is my point of view

    thanks for reading :)
  • Katherine from Akron, OhI love this song and the music video is hillarous!
  • Nicki from Pittsburgh, Paim not okay i think is about gerard in high school and he had a best friend that he started to fall in love with but she went behide his back and did some dirty things with somebody that hates gerard because gerard may look like the popular type but he really wasent his only friend was that one girl awwww so sad!!!! i'll be his friend though.
  • Jenni from Nowhere, OhI HATE My Chemical Romance, but I can tolerate this song for some reason...
  • Stephanie from Ingleside, United Stateslol thats probably my favorite mcr song. my friends think its how i am and what i go through. i love the part in the library
  • Lukas from Long Island, NyI love this band, and this is probably my favorite song from them. Basically, what I get from it is that this person is going through a lot of hard times, but when they are asked if they are alright, the simply reply that there "ok." Everyones done this, lied about your true feelings in order to spare yourself from delving into all the reasons your feeling crappy. Thats why I think so many people like this song, its something everyone can relate to.
  • Alex from Los Angeles, CaLiek, OMG! Dis song iz awesome!!!! The guitar is soooooooo good, hes liek, the best guitar guy EVER!!!!!! Best song EVER!!!! Dees guyz r, liek, geniusus!!!!!

    JUST KIDDING! MCR is absolute crap. Hate to break it to you guys, but these guys are just plain terrible.
  • Stephanie from Melbourne, Australia, Australiaaww i love this song but the video is funny and sad if i went to gees skool i wouldnt hate him id like him i love the stereotyped kids like 'emos,punk,goths and nerds lol" emos r kool i love them
  • Katie from Mc, Inkayley,there ain't no such thing as the perfect song hun, not sorry to break it to ya.
  • Cory from Summerside, Canadawell, I like alot of different bands...the doors, warren zevon, steve earle, metallica, pantera, iron maiden, neil young, steve earle, coheed and cambria, rush, motorhead and children of bodom are just some of my favorites. And really none of them are the best guitarists in the world alot of them aren't even mediocre like i said about MCR. MCR is a good band dont get me wrong I respect them and there song writing ability. But when all comes to all they are not very technical guitarists and the feeling isn't in the guitar playing like it should be. The feeling is in the lyrics and in a great musical peice all the instruments should share equal emotional value. If you want the best guitarist in the world. Steve Vai is your man. He has so much emotion in his guitar playing that its not even funny. And while being emotional hes also very technical and can rip about 30 times faster then the Lead guitarist from MCR and all the bands ive listed(not that speed matters). If you want to hear great music check him out...download the song tender surrender and for the love of god.....best songs ever.

    sorry for coming off as a bit of an (deleted) in my first comment but im just saying that they shouldn't be ranked as best in the world.
  • Meghan from Tipperary, Irelandhey cory!awww thats 2 bad u dont like em!i personally think they really really good guitar players!what bands so u like if ya dont like MCR?or do ya like em?..XxX
  • Cory from Summerside, CanadaMeghan I understand that you like MCR and their guitarist and how this song helped you through personal times that i dont need to know. But they arent very good guitar player Frank Iero is a terrible guitar player and the other guy is a very limited lead guitarist and is not even close to being a mediocre guitarist...I'm not saying the dont have great song writing abilities because they are great song writers and there guitar work fits their style but they are nowhere close to being the best guitarists on earth.
  • Meghan from Tipperary, Irelandi love this song soo much because it makes me feel like there are other people going through the same things as me in school!this song makes me want 2 get up and dance!i love the vidoe soo much because its sooo funny!frank iero is one of the best guitars players i have ever heard and hes really hot 2!hahahaand ray...if i could be able 2 play guitar like ray i would be so lucky!hes soo talented and i look up 2 him so much!PLEASE PLEASE come 2 ireland and give us a concert of a life time mcr!i no ur capeable 2 do it!thanks mcr..u didnt save my life...you guys made it!all my sick love, meghan!XxX
  • Kayley from LondonI love this song, and I'm still in high school and this is just the perfect song! I think the video is soo funny and to be honest I wanted to join in with the fight at the end 'cause it looks epic!
  • Caroline from Montreal, Canadathis song makes me feel so alive, it puts words on how a feel and what i'm unable to explain. probably the song that sealed my inconditional love for them!
  • Ilse Serna from Empalme, Sonora, MexicoThis song is about the band's high school experiences and I LOVE IT.
  • Caroline from Long Island, Nythat is right, that it is about a girl crushing gerard bye taking sleezy photos,
    "the photographs your boyfriend took"
    this is also reffering to the cover of the album, three cheers for sweet revenge, the man and women,
  • Ilse Serna from Empalme, Sonora, MexicoAll of the Crazyness that goes on in this video is very true because when he was in high school it happened and it still does for some reason. It is a really good song. I LOVE THIS SONG!!!!
  • Kirsty from D&g, United Statesi thought this song was about gerard being obsesed with a girl in hischool then she became a slut n took piks wa her boy friend and gerard didnt think it was right how she turnd sluty n how pornigrofik pictures discriminated woman. so hes saying the she was a hartlis whore who broke his hart.
  • Person from Taree, Australiawell ,if what im told is true, than i can make a connection between everyones idea: ok,this man meets a girl in high school but because shes got a boyfriend he goes into drugs and starts getting heaps angry and violent. he dies in a gunfight in a restaraunt and is seperated to helena by death. he tries 2 get the devil the souls of 1000 evil men(thats the revenge bit). please say if i am completely off it is just a bit off a match between what everyone says this album is about. please call me a idiot if this is completely off.
  • Eleanor from Paris, FranceThis is going to be my anthem song for going to college. The song really makes me think that it's important to be yourself no matter what and that being different is a pride and a big one. This song is inspiring and the clip is fantastic.
  • Elizabeth from J-ville, Flthis song is Part 2 to "Headfirst For Halos". Both of the songs are about suicide and drugs and (so clearly stated in the title) not being okay. Gerard said in the band's 3 disc DVD "Life on the Murder Scene" that anyone who has heard both of the songs should be able to make a connection. both of the songs have the same concept and they are both very up-beat with similar guitar riffs.
  • Hannah from Atlanta, GaI love this song and my friend and I always like to turn it up all the way and blare it and scream out the lyrics. It's a great song and I can really relate to it. My favorite part is the little voice over that right after the line, "Because I'm telling you the truth. I mean this, I'm okay" Then he says "Trust me". This song just flat out rocks!
  • Daniel from Suwanee, GaAlthough the dude looks cracked out all the time, this song still rocks
  • Melissa from Toledo, OhI love this song. The video is so funny. MCR rocks!!
  • Jack from Hemel, EnglandYou all have different idea's but here it is.
    Ghost of You was writen for his grandmother, Not Helena. The song is quite a bit about revenge. The story of the album: A man and a woman, are seperated by death in a gunfight. The man goes to hell, and is told by the devil that the woman is still alive, and the devil tell's him that he can be with her again if he brings him the souls of 1000 evil men, so he say's I'll do it. The album ended up being more about loss in real life.
  • Sarah from St. Louis, Moits about gerard in highschol then going to college and how he is not ok with his drug addictions
  • Tara from Sydney, Australiai LOVE this song this was my first My Chemical romance song i listen to
  • Mizzhell from Snowflake, AzThe song is a revenge song hence the video concept and the in your face sort of attitude of the song (if you wanted honesty that all you had to say...) and theyre also saying its okay to be not okay if that makes sense
  • Jeevan from Brampton, CanadaMy Chemical Romance is the best band ever! Their songs are so cool. I like their CD Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge.
  • Justine from Lincoln, EnglandYer, Its About Gerards High School Years
  • Tina from Philidelpha, Nji relate to this song b/c sometimes im not okay w/my mothers death. Sometimes i feel like whats the point of livin but then i think about all the hearts that i would break. they r the only reason i try keep myself livin. and the fact that i can listen 2 MCR and get all my feelings out. from a die in heart Christina
  • Sarah from Dublin, Irelandi feel in love with this song! i think they rele messed up in the head (i suppose anyone who listens to MCR is!!)the thing about the sleezy pic's is true! cant wait for the video of You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison its the next video out!!
  • Sophie from Yorkshire, EnglandIsn't it a restraunt, as in You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison, the first line is 'In the middle of a gunfight, in the centre of a restraunt'. I'm not sure though, it might be a car crash because of the Helena lyric 'when both out cars collide'. Not sure :-)
  • Micheal from Laval, Canadaactually its not about a girl but Actually Dedicated to Gerards Boyfriend *sigh its true*
  • Helena from Bevelle, Njthis is what im not okay (o promies is about)

    gerard didnt have many freinds at school excpet for a girl. then she started taking sleazy pics with her bf (the photographs your bf took) and basiclly, not being okay at school and getting bullied
  • Clare from Liverpool, Englandi think my chemical romance are okay (cue cheesy joke about how theyre NOT okay), but a little to emo for me. I love the songs i'm not okay, thank you for the venom and helena, and the video to am not okay is amazing
  • Yuya from Kyoto, JapanI love the video! When he opens the locker and the pill containers fall out
  • Michael from Dallas, Txand the woman isnt helena, that song was just written for his grandmother... and i dont think it was a car crash, and the woman does die and go to heaven
see more comments

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