Over a steady beat and romantic strings, James Mercer sings about the pointless fears and anxieties that can ruin a relationship. Mercer told NME he's been battling anxiety since childhood.
"When I was a kid, I would have waves of it that lasted months and I didn't know what the hell was going on," he explained. "Back then you just got told to shut up. It faded into this depression that lasted a while, and I haven't had that for a long while. Sometimes anxieties come in, just from knowing that I have kids and I have to be there. It comes at weird moments in life, too. Like we went for this big meal the other night because The Shins are releasing a new record, and then I realized that it's just me in The Shins so all those people were there for me."
Mercer added: "It was weird. It was friendly, but I was so anxious. 'The Fear', the song, is about someone who realizes that he missed an opportunity with a relationship and he's sad about it. The door has closed and he's sad about it."