The pop-punk quintet open the clip with a young man gazing at old Polaroids and flashing back to memories from his childhood. As a boy, the protagonist reads comic books and plays in the backyard, but the plot turns dark when his mother lashes out in anger. The band performs the synth-heavy track throughout, with singer Joel Madden’s face sporadically blurring into a skull mask.
“Actual Pain” is the lead single from Good Charlotte’s recently announced seventh LP, Generation Rx, out September 14th. The song emerged after the band performed at the memorial service for Lil Peep, the 21-year-old emo-rap artist and devoted Good Charlotte fan who died in November from an overdose of fentanyl and Xanax.
The opioid epidemic wound up as a crucial theme of the band’s latest record, which they recently told Rolling Stone harnesses the “honesty and vulnerability” of their early material. “The wisdom that time gives you also comes with baggage, and we’ve been searching for the door back in to that vulnerability, honesty and hopeful outlook that seems to only exist in innocence for a good 15 years,” they said. “Generation Rx feels to us like we finally found our way back to that place.”