The Shins’ James Mercer Talks Mental Health as a Theme in New Album

The Shins' frontman recently discussed his experience with anxiety and new album 'Heartworms'

Back in October, The Shins released a video for new song “Dead Alive” shortly after teasing new music. Then, in January, the band confirmed their much anticipated new album, Heartworms, which is set to drop on March 10.

As the release of Heartworms quickly approaches, frontman James Mercer has been opening up about the writing behind the album. In an interview he recently did with NME, Mercer opened up about the meaning of one of the album’s songs, “The Fear,” which deals with Mercer’s battle with anxiety.


Mercer told NME in an interview that “The Fear” 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.”

He also disclosed that he has been dealing with anxiety for most of his life.

“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,” Mercer told NME. “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.”

Listen to “The Fear” below.