Old Skin

Album: I Don't Live Here Anymore (2021)
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Songfacts®:

  • Tired of his unsatisfactory existence, War On Drugs leader Adam Granduciel feels his life is slipping away.

    Been down at the yard, workin' my whole life
    To follow my father's dream
    Then watch it fade away
    Wrapped in our old, tired skin
    Peelin' away


    Determined to take control of his life, Granduciel pushes back against everything that holds him down.

    Well, there's a price for everything, they'll try to kill you from the start
    So take control of anything that tries to pull us all apart
    I ain't sure of nothing, babe, 'til I can feel it in my heart
    So I keep movin' on
  • Granduciel recorded the rousing song for I Don't Live Here Anymore, which has a loose theme of the frontman navigating changes and seizing control of his destiny.
  • Granduciel first demoed "Old Skin" one afternoon in about half an hour. He showed it to the band and co-producer Shawn Everett, but when they started playing the tune, it felt lackluster. However, there was something in the song Granduciel really liked, and they kept building it up more and more. "Then one day," he recalled to Apple Music, "I asked Shawn to mute everything except the two things I liked most: the organ and the single note I was playing on the Juno. I brought the drums in at the right moment and it was like, 'Oh, that's the f---ing song.'"
  • Granduciel is credited with playing "Walter Becker's old bass" - as in the late Steely Dan legend. "After he passed away, most of Walter's extensive collection went up for sale," Granduciel told Mojo magazine. "I was lucky enough to get his late '60s Pelham Blue Gibson Melody Maker bass - a pretty rare bass, especially in that color. I used it to demo every song on the album and I used my original take for 'Old Skin.' It has a very dark, punchy sound that always sits perfectly in my home recordings."

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