The Way We Get By
Influences on SpoonBritt Daniel is a man who wears his influences proudly on his sleeve. The name of his band pays homage to the song "Spoon" by avant-garde krautrock group Can. But a song like "The Way We Get By" is unusually explicit, even for Daniel, as it basically tells us what soundtrack has been playing in his life: Iggy Pop. More specifically, Daniel references two songs from two separate albums by The Stooges, a band fronted by Iggy. The third, "Some Weird Sin," is actually from Iggy Pop's second solo album Lust For Life, which was produced and co-written by David Bowie. As Richard Adams says in The Complete Iggy Pop, "Some Weird Sin" is "one of the more obvious Bowie tunes" (96).
Musically, "The Way We Get By" is more akin to a restrained Bowie song than a Stooges romp. Like David Bowie, Britt Daniel demonstrates exceptional literacy and knows how to wrap a story in a concise little pop tune package. The lyrics abide by a simple poetic rhyme scheme and are laid out in a common verse/chorus/bridge structure.
The same cannot be said for the music of The Stooges, especially the free-form sludge-fest that is Fun House, nor can it be said for any album by Can. What this song takes from the Stooges musically is primarily its minimalist arrangement and organic approach to recording, as well as of course its subject matter. Its sparseness somewhat recalls the only Stooges album not referenced in the song, their eponymous debut.
Britt Daniel has also listed influences as diverse as The Kinks, The Damned, The Cure, Pavement, Prince, The Pixies, Wire, The Beatles, and The Everly Brothers.