See the way the wind blows
Lives are interwined
Watch the way the world goes
The man deals out our plight

Jester in the corner
Laughs without a sound
Jester in the corner
Malady abounds
In our souls

See the way the sun sets
Twilight of this life
The man is making little bets
Playing with our lives

All that I believe now
Anything is possible
A simple explanation
For the evil in this world
And in our souls
In our souls

Come down to sorry and sable
It's always the man
Always keeping you down

Bow down cause I see it before me
Shadow and light
That always keeps you running

Shut up you talk too much
Pay the man
Shut up you talk too much

Look at you and your struggle for freedom
But you ain't nothing
We all pay the man for living

Wouldn't it be nice for a change now
To be unchained
My life is for me now
But this is life
Pay the man

Shut up you talk too much
Pay the man
Shut up you talk too much
Pay the man


Lyrics submitted by sawg

Pay The Man song meanings
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46 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentThis song is sort of a conversation between an idealist and a realist.
    The idealist thinks that his life is his, and he should be free to do what he wants. The realist reminds the idealist that he is not completely free, and there is nothing he can do about it. He must be a slave to society and "pay the man".
    Theo Reoon January 06, 2005   Link
  • +4
    My InterpretationSee, I think that this song is supposed to represent resentment against any kind of drudgery from a higher power or authority, any kind of hampering, restriction, restraint. It's individual to the listener, it speaks to whatever it is you're most angry with, or take the most issue with.

    Personally, I always found myself thinking about religion with this song. While lines like "The Man is making little bets, playing with our lives" could apply as much to the banking system as to Abrahamic religion, "All that I believe now/Anything is possible/A simple explanation/For the evil in this world/And in our souls" is to me more about the cop-out of attributing the world's evil to a single, easily explainable, easily SHUNNABLE source, instead of acknowledging our own duality.
    SHOOTANGAEMSon July 31, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentomg... sorry...
    PinkFloydrulezon February 16, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song, like many rock and roll songs, is just an anthem against "the man". "the man" of course being any figure of authority oppressing the narator, whether it is the government, the boss, the parents, God or whatever...
    Baal666on July 24, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'd have to agree it's a conversation (the realist/idealist), especially during the rocking part's chorus, the "woooaaah, woaaaahs" between the "shut up, you talk to much [woooaaah, hoooaaa], pay the man" lines are important, I feel like it's a call and response device between the two voices. The shut up is directed right at the woooahs.

    This song is the reason I love the Offspring more than any other punk band. They are actually *saying* something. They're serving up a concept for us on a silver platter: Don't pay the man just for living. It's unnecessary

    "the man" is the jester in the corner, laughing silently to himself, getting paid for nothing. The malady abounds in our souls. We invite the man into our souls to create disaster and mischief, AND WE PAY HIM for it. The voice of this idealist isn't the band talking to us, it's the idealist pontificating about the state of affairs in our lives.

    Dexter's voice in the harder parts is sneering. "look at you, and your struggle for freedom". He is the jester. He's just playing with us - he has the power and he knows it.

    The very last part is the fight. The idealist becomes powerful, and his whiny/ethereal woooahs become wails and screams of power. "my life is for me - " and the song just ends.

    Dexter wants us to fight and convince our friends and family to never pay the man.
    erichthinkson August 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favourite song by the offspring - i used to listen to their old stuff quite a lot but i still listen to this. It's just really mellow. I think there's a mistake in the lyrics because the line "see the way the wind blows" - that's one of my favourite lines is missin'.......
    Escape The Cycleon June 06, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSee the way the wind blows
    Lives are interwined
    Watch the way the world goes
    The man deals out our plight

    -the missin' verse from the start of the song
    Escape The Cycleon June 07, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is offspring's best. All of their songs are awesome. Although songs like this should have been more popular than "Pretty Fly For A White Guy", but oh well. The guitar in this song kicks ass! This is one of there most musical songs as well. Noodles and Dex can both play great guitar.
    anarchysomething44on June 19, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree this is one of the best songs they did. It's so true too...paying someone for what we do naturaly...living
    Gentle_Demon17on July 09, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the picture next to the lyrics on the album describes this song perfectly.


    Peace
    Escape The Cycleon July 29, 2002   Link

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