The theme of aging is detailed in this song. Guy Garvey explained to NME: "It mourns the fact you can't see all your friends every night like you can when you're young."
The lyric: "Another sunrise with my sad captains, with you I choose to lose my mind" comes from a line in Shakespeare's play Antony and Cleopatra. It's adapted from when Mark Antony speaks about his drinking partners: "Come, let's have one other gaudy night; call to me all my sad captains; fill our bowls; once more, let's mock the midnight bell."
Garvey told Uncut magazine: "There's a line in it - 'we only come this way but once' - which is actually a bastardisation of William Penn (founder of Pennsylvania). He was talking about realising you only have one life, realising your own mortality."
The song finds Garvey recounting how drinking sessions change as the drinkers become older. "My Sad Captains is mourning the end of the 15-strong three-day bender in favour of one or two people's company and getting proper into your cups," he explained to The Observer. "Maybe having your mind changed by something somebody says. That's my favourite kind of socialising now. But I still think wistfully about those crazy, hedonistic 15 years that I had."
Garvey had the opening lines to this song, "I'm running out of miracles," but it was his former girlfriend, novelist and journalist Emma Jane Unsworth, who gave him the chorus.