The Way We Get By

Album: Kill the Moonlight (2002)

Songfacts®:

  • Lead singer Britt Daniel wrote this single for Spoon's fourth studio album, Kill the Moonlight. The song is about an apathetic generation that will do anything to distract themselves from the boredom of everyday life, which usually gets them into trouble.
  • At least three references to rocker Iggy Pop are in this song. First, "We go to sleep to 'Shake Appeal,'" is a nod "Shake Appeal," a single from Iggy's third album with The Stooges, Raw Power (1973). Second, "We make love to 'Some Weird Sin,'" cites a track co-written by David Bowie from Iggy's second solo album, Lust for Life. Third, "Fall in love to 'Down On The Street,'" takes us back to The Stooges with a reference to the opening track from Fun House (1970).
  • This song didn't chart, but it became a popular choice for TV shows, including The O.C. (in the 2003 episode "The Outsider"); Hustle (in the promos for episodes from 2006) and Shameless (in the 2011 pilot). It was also featured in the movies Mean Creek, a 2004 indie drama starring Rory Culkin;The Puffy Chair, a 2005 dramedy starring Mark and Jay Duplass; and Stranger Than Fiction, a 2006 comedy starring Will Ferrell.
  • Daniel told The Austin Chronicle the story behind the album title Kill the Moonlight: "It's the name of a Futurist manifesto," he explained. "In Italy from about 1900-1920, there was a movement called the Futurists. There was a little pamphlet decreeing what they believed in." Don't ask him any specifics, though. He admitted the band didn't actually read the pamphlet.
  • "The first time I sang the chorus to 'The Way We Get By,' it was just off-the-cuff, but I knew it was good," Daniel told Pitchfork. "From that, I turned it into a glorified, f--ked-up-relationship song about a scrappy couple getting high in the backseat, making love with the [Iggy Pop] song 'Some Weird Sin,' seeking out people that don't speak very much. We believe in the sum of ourselves."

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