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Studio album by Mike Doughty
Released 2000
Recorded July 5, 1996
Genre Rock
Length 32:17
Label (self-released)
Producer Kramer
Mike Doughty chronology
Smofe + Smang: Live in Minneapolis
(2002)Smofe + Smang: Live in Minneapolis2002

Skittish is a Mike Doughty album recorded with indie rock producer Kramer (Low, Galaxie 500, Bongwater, B.A.L.L., Daniel Johnston) in one day, July 5, 1996, and mixed on July 6. Frustrated by the acrimonious sessions for Soul Coughing's Irresistible Bliss, and attracted to Kramer's signature minimal, reverby sound, Doughty took a batch of songs—some rejected by, some withheld from Soul Coughing—and crossed the river to bang the disc out at Kramer's studio, Noise New Jersey, a gigantic, shag-carpeted room built as an addition to a house by a would-be Disco musician in the 70s, to which Kramer added huge echo plates running down either side of his garage—the source of his trademark haunting sound.

Though Kramer built up some songs in Doughty's absence, with strings and organ, the disc is mostly a stark affair. Doughty's riffs—often using a guitar rhythm Doughty calls the "gangadank"—punctuate emotional lyrics on songs such as "The Only Answer" and "The Pink Life". It was extremely different from Soul Coughing, and confused by the sonic departure, his label, Warner Bros., rejected it.

But the album found its own life. Versions of the songs, often featuring extra instruments as experimental mixes, ended up on Napster as The Skittish Sessions. When Doughty quit Soul Coughing in 2000 and hit the road as a one-man act, he was astonished to find audiences singing along to these tunes. He quickly printed up white label versions of the CD and sold them himself at the gigs, selling 20,000, mostly by hand at the front of the stage after the shows.

Skittish was re-released as part of a two disc set along with the electro EP Rockity Roll, on December 7, 2004. See Skittish / Rockity Roll for details.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and performed by Mike Doughty unless otherwise noted.

  1. "The Only Answer" – 2:09
  2. "The Pink Life" – 2:59
  3. "Real Love"/"It's Only Life" (medley; Mary J. Blige/The Feelies covers) – 3:11
  4. "No Peace Los Angeles" – 3:32
  5. "Where Have You Gone?" – 3:12
  6. "Thank You, Lord, For Sending Me the F Train" – 2:43
  7. "Looks" (Student Teachers cover) – 2:57
  8. "Shunned + Falsified" – 2:42
  9. "All the Dirt" – 2:34
  10. "Sweet Lord in Heaven" – 1:44
  11. "Language Barrier" – 2:13
  12. "Rising Sign" – 2:20

The Skittish Sessions[edit]

All songs are different from the versions on the released Skittish.

  1. The Pink Life
  2. Real Love/It's Only Life (medley; Mary J. Blige/ The Feelies)
  3. No Peace Los Angeles
  4. Mean Curl *
  5. Where Have You Gone?
  6. All the Dirt
  7. Unluckier (I Yearn) *
  8. World of Suck *
  9. Shunned & Falsified
  10. Skittish *
  11. Thank You, Lord, For Sending Me The F Train
  12. Mr. Bitterness *
  13. Laundrytown *
  14. Looks (Student Teachers cover)
  15. Rising Sign
  16. Misery Bloom (I Failed to Use It) *
  17. Cobain's Sarcoma (Sweet Lord in Heaven)
  18. Language Barrier

tracks with * indicate that they are unreleased tracks that were not featured on Skittish. However, "Laundrytown" and "I Failed to Use It" were later remastered and released on Skittish / Rockity Roll set.

These versions of the songs are now very hard to come by.