Forty years after “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” came out in 1981, two of Stevie Nicks’ musical heirs — Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen — reincarnated her prowling duet for the pandemic era. “Like I Used To” is another blistering ball-and-chain ballad, except this fraught relationship is about the one you have with your own mind. “Well, my head’s gone today/ sell my past for a way to sing and have something left to say,” Van Etten sings in her mysterious drawl.
As with Nicks/Petty, the strange magic of “Like I Used To” lies in the polarity of Van Etten and Olsen’s distinctive voices. Together, they produce a sound that’s somehow both bitter and alluring, like two magnets that never touch. These qualities are heightened on the new, stripped-down rendition Etten and Olsen performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Onstage at L.A.’s Zebulon, the singer-songwriters sat side-by-side with matching shag hair and acoustic guitars. While the original song soars, this unvarnished live version has a quiet wildness that can stand completely on its own.
Van Etten and Olsen wrote “Like I Used To” during the Covid-19 lockdowns and will be performing it at various festivals this summer, including Ohana and the Pitchfork Music Festival. Both singers will appear at Outside Lands in San Francisco on October 29 (Van Etten) and October 30 (Olsen).
Watch the video of the acoustic set below:
Watch the original version of “Like I Used To” below: