Go west
paradise is there
you'll have all that you can eat
of milk and honey over there

you'll be the brightest star
the world has ever seen
sun-baked slender heroine
of film and magazine

go west
paradise is there
you'll have all that you can eat
of milk and honey over there

you'll be the brightest light
the world has ever seen
the dizzy height of a jet-set life
you could never dream

your pale blue eyes
strawberry hair
lips so sweet
skin so fair

your future bright
beyond compare
it's rags to riches
over there

San Andreas Fault
moved it's fingers
through the ground
earth divided
plates collided
such an awful sound

San Andreas Fault
moved its fingers
through the ground
terra cotta shattered
and walls came
tumbling down

o promised land
o wicked ground
build a dream
tear it down

o promised land
what a wicked ground
build a dream
watch it fall down


Lyrics submitted by kevin

San Andreas Fault song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI have to say that this is one of my favorite Natalie Merchant songs of all time. There is just so much sentiment behind the words and it really makes you think about the destruction and falseness between the pristine beauty and images of what is known as California. The melody is great and Natalie's voice, as always, is so haunting throughout the song. No one else could make this song what it is.
    ars musicaon April 26, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentShe's used an excellent metaphor for how delicate fame and dreams are and how reality can tear them down.
    ophelia52on January 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is even more prophetic given the recent floods and mudslides that have ravaged "The Golden State"... not to mention The Governator.
    TK6022on January 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnyone else singing this song would make it suck. Natalie had a way of taking this strange song about California and making it beautiful.
    mrsdarthvaderon July 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuch a pure song with perfect metaphor. The promised land, rags to riches, earthquakes, Hollywood, and terra cotta. Even though one can have everything, without love its meaningless. This song shows the vunrability of losing a lover, the pain of arguing (earthquakes/divided land/expectations/false hope). "oh promised land, oh wicked ground, build a dream, tear it down."
    Thinwhitedukeon December 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentars musica- I couldn't have said it better myself!
    xHippieChickxon May 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is so beautiful, I agree it couldn't be sung by anyone else.
    Wynter Rainon June 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is her best song, it is my favorite in the world.

    The idea of chasing dreams being pointless because they will crumble anyway.

    "Promised land/ what a wicked ground"
    pamplemousse916on February 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always listened to this song with the notion of the earthquake being quite literal and killing the protagonist/dreamer from the first few verses. It also would function as a demonstration though as to how a random, senseless tragedy or disaster can destroy the dreams of people going about their daily lives, with no greater purpose or meaning than the damage it causes.

    I love how the lyrics themselves take a hard right turn halfway through, becoming about something entirely different than what the first half is setting up. The point at which the change occurs "San Andreas fault moved its fingers through the ground" becomes itself a faultline in the song, breaking it in half and changing all that came before into something almost unrecognizable. I also love her choice of words to express the quake itself there - using almost gentle imagery to contrast what would necessarily be a very massive violent moment.

    I feel like I have to add - I heard this song again today and it instantly brought made me think of the American teacher that was just killed in the earthquake/tsunami over in Japan this week, along with so many others people. It seemed to me her story could be told almost word for word by this song.
    jzlp17on March 23, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIts about James Dean
    wag1783452on July 04, 2016   Link

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