“I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” by My Chemical Romance

“I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” is obviously a song where the vocalist is addressing a romantic interest. But at the heart of the matter at hand is that the addressee actually has an official boyfriend, who isn’t the vocalist himself. But still, by the looks of things, he is messing around with her regardless. 

And the further implication is that he has developed real feelings for the addressee, thus leading us to the title, i.e. the singer ‘not being okay’ that she is concurrently dating someone else.

So what’s being insinuated is that he wants her to break up with her boyfriend, which the addressee is not willing to do. Furthermore, it can be understood that she wants to have her cake and eat it too. Put simply, this lady desiring to be with her main squeeze as well as the vocalist. 

So basically, it can be deemed that the narrator is giving her an indirect ultimatum, i.e. date him exclusively or leave him alone.

And it has been noted that this poetic narrative is actually based on a personal experience of said vocalist, Gerard Way. And as the story goes he was dating a committed girl all right but became unraveled when he came across pics she had taken with her true man. Such is alluded to in this song, though the nature of said pics isn’t specified.

But ultimately such is beside the point, as if this is a woman whom the vocalist truly has feelings for, then actually seeing her with another man, even though he knows she already has one, can indeed be enough to push him over the edge.

In Conclusion

So conclusively, we can say that there is a cautionary tale in all of this. And that would be not to fall in love with someone else’s girlfriend. For the matter concludes as it is introduced, with the vocalist trying to assert to the addressee that he’s “not okay” with her established, more serious relationship, as well as there being this feeling throughout that said protests are for the most part falling on death ears.

"I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" Lyrics

When was “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” released?

This song was released in 2004 from the My Chemical Romances’ “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” album.

The album in question was released by Warner Music Group’s Reprise Records’ on June 8 of 2004. It came out as the band’s 2nd studio album.

The following singles were also released as singles from the album:

  • “Thank You for the Venom”
  • “Helena”
  • “The Ghost of You”

The album was produced by Grammy Award nominee, Howard Benson. It was so successful it sold over 3 million copies worldwide. It had a Platinum certification in the UK and Double Platinum in Canada. It was certified Gold in the following countries:

  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Ireland 

Writing Credits for “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)”

The members of My Chemical Romance are credited with writing this song. Howard Benson, on the other hand, holds production credits for it.  


Electronic Art’s racing video game, “Burnout 3: Takedown” of 2004 had the song featured on it. America’s RIAA certified the song Platinum after it sold over a million copies in the States.

It peaked at number 19 in the UK. It also charted on the Billboard Hot 100.

Notable Covers of “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)”

The American group, Vitamin String Quartet also known as VSQ on January 10 of 2006 released their cover version of “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)”. Their version which became one of the most popular covers of the song was part of their 2006 album, “Funeral: VSQ Performs My Chemical Romance”.

Several other cover versions of the song have been released since 2004. Below are some notable ones:

  • Hide at Six (2017)
  • XO willow (2019)
  • Halocene (2018)
I'm Not Okay (I Promise)

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    Despite the lyrics mostly being about being unfaithful, the simple phrase of “I’m Not Okay” really makes for a great chronic pain song. I bought a shirt simply saying that because of the fact that I hurt every day and even when I have a smile on my face and I look happy, I’m STILL Not Okay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...