There has never been more need for a means through which to cope with the world and our place within it. Social media alone invades the crevices of our brains and exploits any insecurities and weaknesses to make us feel like we’re missing out, not enough and, in general, lesser than.
And that’s just on a given day. Add in all the stress, anxiety and uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s safe to say we’re all desperate for something to call an antidote.
Between Kings own this. They’re not too proud to say they need something to get through “this”: just making it day-to-day. “I’ve given up on finding hope / The more I try I feel like I’m a ghost / I can not seem to find a way / To make it through another day.” Life isn’t just hard; some days, it feels impossible, at least without some help. They equate life in this day and age to, in many ways, a a chronic sickness with which to cope, and they need and crave the “Antidote,” to simply subsist.
This song is brave. Between Kings acknowledges the hope and despair with which so many of us start the day. “This is more than I can take / And I wish I could be a saint / But truth be told I’m not sure I can / And maybe that’s ok,” the opening verse concludes. We start out lost, we want to be better and ultimately we’re not sure we can.
The chorus promises a quick fix and false hope. “But by tonight I’ll have something in my system / Everything will be ok I need a prescription / Just to get me through the day / I can’t do this all on my own.” We’re all master liars when it comes to convincing ourselves of future bliss to manage or justify present circumstances, and this point nails it. We’re fighting through the days to get to the relief of the night or whatever point in time, in whatever form it comes.
So how and why do we keep coming back? “Because I’m bent but not broken / I’m hurt but not hopeless / My mind is my weakness / But I’m not giving up.”
To this point in the video for the single, the female protagonist has started the day with a look of ennui and a handful of pills. But the whole thing isn’t a buildup of compounding hopelessness; far from it, she’s motivated and she’s got someone. She just needs that initial boost to get out of the house, to him and ultimately out into the world.
And once she’s in it, she seems happy. “All my superstitions have killed my ambition / Medicate me I need to feel something from within,” the band intones before the final chorus. They and their video avatar ultimately ditch the pills and seem willing, comfortable and content to let something more organic, a human bond and more broadly hers and their humanity, be what medicates.
Between Kings clearly think this “Antidote” is, at its core, simple. But the journey to get there is fraught. They seem to embrace and welcome the struggle, knowing its ultimate, remedying endpoint.