It’s funny how true the title of this song is. You “Pay for What You Get.” Well, if you were walking through a record store, and came across Under the Table and Dreaming, and only paid about $15 for it, you’d be getting a LOT more than what you paid for. But that’s besides the point.
“Pay for What You Get” has always been a very compelling song for me. This is a great way to end an album (with the exception of #34, but I’ll get to that more in the next review). This song is so low-key and relaxing and pretty much the epitome of smooth and soothing. The tone of the song never really raises up above a lull, which is not a bad thing. As you listen to it, you just feel like your floating. Kind of like that feeling at the dentist once they give you the laughing gas. And it feels like your body is just vapors and it is dissolving in front of you. Well, that’s how it was for me. Anyway…
“Pay for What You Get” is one of those songs that I listen to when I want to relax. I’ve had it on a number of iTunes playlists, including study mixes and sleep mixes (you know, songs to relax you when you want to fall asleep). By no means am I saying this song is so boring that it will put you to sleep.
The guitar chords are very simple (as is everything else in this song). It just strums along with the beat and the words. Carter plays a very simple beat… with what sounds like brush-sticks. He has a lot of cymbal work as well, splashing around here and there.
Another component I really dig is the sax in the background. That is consistently one of the most beautiful parts of a song, and this is no exception. When you listen to it, it only further helps the moving along of the song. It’s like a journey the band is taking you through. You can just close your eyes and follow along with what they’re doing. I think you should try it. So all in all with the music… very relaxing, very soothing and smooth. One of the more slowly paced songs on the album. It’s a nice component to some of the other faster-paced songs.
Time for the lyrics. If you look through the lyrics here… you will discover that you probably could have guessed the idea of the song just from the title. Basically, if you work yourself to the bone… you are paying for what you get. Now, it seems that based off the rest of the song, ‘what you get’ isn’t a good thing. At least not in this case…
Everybody asks me how she’s doing
Has she really lost her mind?
I said, I couldn’t tell you
I’ve lost mine.
That more or less sums up the fact ‘you pay for what you get’ isn’t always a positive thing. In terms of what this song is really about, there’s really no straight answer. It’s said to be a reply to the band’s request for more songs from Dave. It is also said (by the same source) that it hides its true intentions by alluding to a girl. What that means is Dave could be talking about himself here, or a personal issue, but just covers it up by referring to a girl. That’s the fun thing about songs, they’re up for interpretation.
I think I’ve made you wait long enough for your first video. Once again, I am lucky with some random person making a random video to a song I am reviewing. I’m going to ride this lucky streak. You can minimize the page as you listen (because what you’re doing is listening), or if you want you can watch it. It’s up to you. Just pay attention to the mood of the song. Notice how low-key it is. Also… really listen for the saxophone. You can’t miss it, but really get into the song and allow yourself to become fully engulfed in the music.
The next video is a live version of the song (naturally). It’s from the 2003 tour, which just so happened to be the same year I attended my first ever DMB show. This is from the Tinley Park in Chicago, IL. The video is really really good quality, and it sounds great. I contemplated giving a link to a newer version… but I decided, why not both? Here’s the 2003 video. You can actually watch this video. Keep an eye on Carter playing the drums in the background, and then the camera moves over to Roi for some quality sax play.
Here’s that other live version. It’s just audio, but it’s from a show I attended. It’s a recording from Live Trax Vol. 13 – Busch Stadium back in June of 2008. Enjoy, I know I did. This was a very big surprise for me. Needless to say, I was thrilled. It was the first (and unfortunately last as of now) time I ever heard “Pay for What You Get” live.
Finally, Dave & Tim. It’s always cool to see video of these two guys go at it on the guitar. They’re just so good.
To recap: “Pay for What You Get” is a very relaxing, slow, low-key song. It is definitely in my upper-echelon of songs. If you’re looking for a good song to put on a relaxing mix… this is a solid choice.
Song Rating: 4/5
Next Song: “#34”