My shadow side, so amplified
Keeps coming back dissatisfied
Elementary, son, but it's soul
My love affair with everywhere
Was innocent, why do you care?
Someone start the car
Time to go
You're the best I know

My sunny side has up and died
I'm betting now where we collide
The universe will shift into a low
The travesties that we have seen
Are treating you like Benzedrine
Automatic laughter from a pro

My, what a good day for a walk outside
I'd like to get to know you a little better baby
God knows that I really have tried
My what a good day for a take-out bride
I'd like to say we did it for the better, oh

I saw you there so unaware
Those hummingbirds all in your hair
Elementary, son, but it's soul
The disrepair of Norma Jean
Could not compare to your routine
Balarama beauty going toe-to-toe

My, what a good day for a, let it slide
I'd like to say we did it for the better, oh

I thought about it and I brought it out
I'm motivated by the lack of doubt
I'm consecrated, but I'm not devout
The mother, the father, the daughter, yeah

Right on the verge, just one more dose
I'm traveling from coast to coast
My theory isn't perfect, but it's close
I'm almost there, why should I care?
My heart is hurting when I share
Someone open up, let it show

My what a good day for a, walk outside
I'd like to think we did it for the better, oh

I thought about it and I brought it out
I'm motivated by the lack of doubt
I'm consecrated but I'm not devout
The mother, the father, the daughter

Oh, you don't form in the wet sand
You don't form at all
Oh, you don't form in the wet sand
I do

You don't form in the wet sand
You don't form at all
Oh, you don't form in the wet sand
I do

Lyrics submitted by quazy_qual, edited by coocoosru, demivirius, lizb1245

"Wet Sand" as written by Chad Smith Anthony Kiedis

Lyrics © MoeBeToBlame

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Wet Sand song meanings
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  • +9
    Song MeaningThis is probably my favorite song of all time, and it saddens me that almost everyone here has missed the point. Here's my take.

    This song is about struggle, about Anthony's lifelong struggle to follow his dreams, figure everything out and, and make an impact, even while acknowledging that it is all ultimately meaningless.

    It's all in the final lines:

    "You don't form in the wet sand. You don't form at all. *I* do."

    Anthony has struggled throughout the years to overcome addiction, conquer the world through music, and find meaning in everything. It all amounts to a very small, temporary impact -- making a form in wet sand. Ultimately, the ocean of life washes everything away, but through his work, struggle, and searching, he has made a tiny impact in the universe, which is what he strives for, and what, ultimately, he is proud of, even if nobody else understands it.

    Here's a thorough breakdown, verse by verse:


    "My shadow side, so amplified..."

    His "sunny" vs "shadow" side is a key motif throughout the song, representing the "sunny" side as a normal, happy, aesthetically driven life. His "shadow side" is a darker, more interpretive, and ultimately more ambitious element to his personality. The entire song is set up as a contrast between these two outlooks.

    "Elementry son, but it's so..."

    What he's saying is that, the keys to happiness are really easy to grasp, and we learn them early in life. It's "elementary" to overcome his sadness and return to the sunny side of life. However, the second part -- "But it's so..." -- indicates that there is something to this shadowy side of his personality, something that keeps drawing him back, something more important than happiness.

    "My love affair with everywhere was innocent, why do you care?"

    Anthony has recognized this early on in his life, and I think the key is that the "shadow side" is what caused him to be so curious about the world. When we live in our shadow life, we are motivated to explore, to struggle, to make changes, to overcome whatever it is that's bothering us. What he's saying here is that, throughout his life, people have told him to be happy, to overcome this sadness of his, but he doesn't want to. He wants to explore, it's part of his being. It's innocent -- why do you care?

    "My what a good day for a walk outside
    I like to get to know you little better baby
    God knows that I really tried"

    I think this is where most people's interpretation of the song go awry, because they think he's talking about a woman. Not at all. He is addressing life itself (or the world, perhaps). Even through the mountain of struggle he's been through to know life, he still wants to know her a little better. He's not done with his search yet, a motif played out throughout the rest of the song.

    "I'd like to say we did it for the better of..."

    This line is an exact counterpart to the earlier lyric of "elementry son, but it's so...". In both of these cases, he's seeking a justification for why he puts himself through all of this, but he doesn't know. He trails off, because he feels like there's some reason, but it is impossible to say what it is. He'd like to say it's for the betterment of something, but he has lost all *real* reasons to continue going down this path.

    "The disrepair of Norma Jean..."

    I don't get the Norma Jean reference, unfortunately, maybe somebody can fill in.

    "I thought about it and I brought it out
    I'm motivated by the lack of doubt
    I'm consecrated but I'm not devout"

    This is the turning point of the song. Anthony has given a lot of thought to this, and he's bringing out his shadowy side again, because he's not done searching. He is also entirely confident in this, nobody is going to change his mind. "Consecrated but not devout" is yet another reinforcement that while he's definitely touched upon truths you might consider sacred, he has not yet understood the true nature of God.

    As a sidenote, this is the only explicit religious verbage in this song, so I don't think this song is *about* religion, but I do think religion is a particularly poignant way to express the dilemma that Anthony is facing. God is, inherently, unknowable by humans, but part of living a religious / spiritual life is to seek to understand him constantly, despite knowing it is ultimately fruitless.

    "Right on the verge just one more dose
    I'm travelling from coast to coast
    My theory isn't perfect but it's close
    I'm almost there why should I care
    My heart is hurting when I share
    Someone open up
    Let it show"

    Again, these verses just reinforce the previous themes of continuing to search for the perfect truth, even though his theory is "close". It still hurts for him to open up to his shadowy side, and it still doesn't make any sense why he should keep doing this to himself.

    The last line of this verse is particularly sad, and I think hits home with what Anthony thinks is upset about in regards to other people He has gone through all of this pain and struggle, all of this searching, and he lays it out for everybody to see through his work. It's very hard for him to do this. What he's saying is, why can't anybody else open up the way I do? He's practically begging for somebody else to understand, empathize, and have the courage to show the world.

    Also, this sets up the final verse in an important way. Throughout all of this, Anthony has drawn a line between himself and his goals and what he sees everyone else doing -- pursuing happiness, fame, comfort, and fulfillment. It's easy to live a happy life, and the more that Anthony abandons that, the more he feels (rightfully, in my opinion) angry and confused that he's the only person who gets it. He feels that everyone else is missing an important piece to the puzzle, and he wants to feel that his struggle was worth it, even if it's a tiny, tiny thing. Which brings us to the final verse:

    "You don't form in the wet sand.
    You don't form at all.
    I do."

    This is a powerful, profound, incredible statement, and it's no coincidence that this is both the title of the song and the apex of the intensity of the song.

    He's saying that, at the end of the day, the "sunny" way of living life means absolutely nothing. Your life will be remembered by nobody. You don't form in the wet sand. You don't form at all. Anywhere, in any medium.

    Anthony, however, does. He makes a tiny, tiny dent in the universe. People will remember him long after he is dead, and even though this doesn't ultimately matter, as humanity will die out and our bodies will be washed away into the cosmic ocean, ultimately, his life had meaning, he made something, and he's proud of it and wouldn't have it any other way.


    Final notes, what follows is just my opinion. I think that this song could only have been written by Anthony Keidis and performed by RHCP, and the fact that Stadium Arcadium was such a great album is a testament to that fact.

    Most bands that you know of had a good run, put out some albums, and then faded away back into the sunny, comfortable side of life. Not RHCP. They have rocked, kicked ass, and struggled, for over 20 years, and they *still* kick ass. I can't think of any bands that have maintained such a strong musical and lyrical skill *and* remained such a potent cultural influence for as long as they have.

    I think that this song only could have been written now, after 20 years of striving to make the best music. In short, Anthony and the rest of the band earned this song. The message would not have been nearly as powerful if it was from anybody else. And in a way, in terms of RHCP's overall musicography, I think that this song explains the mentality behind why they have continued to succeed and thrive where lesser musicians (nay, lesser people) would have been content to give up long a go.

    Kudos to Kiedis, RHCP, and everyone out there who choose to continue to struggle, search for truth, and do good, even though comfort and ease is right around the corner.
    ckjohnson7on April 24, 2014   Link
  • +6
    General Comment"You don't form in the wet sand" was actually a line and tune that John had in his head for awhile. Anthony heard him mumbling it over and over and asked if he could use it. I think that Anthony used it and added lyrics that show his inability to connect with his significant others on a permanant basis. This has been shown in his many serious, but unlasting relationships. A lot of the lines are hopeful, but followed by feelings of disconnect, which comes to a head in the chorus at the end of the song.

    The outro by John is my favorite guitar solo ever in the history of the world!
    rhcpayneon January 18, 2013   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningThis song is about a clash between the free-spirit and his love, who is on a more direct path in their life. The free-spirit is "travelling from coast to coast", reveling in it, but pines over the lack of structure (something CONCRETE, SOLID, like a diamond?) which he associates with the standard "settling down" folks do (career, family, car, home). Whether this is a real person, or the person is a symbol, it works both ways.

    He keeps approaching the idea, being motivated "by the lack of doubt" involved, but opts instead for another trip (like a RHCP tour from coast to coast). It's so tempting, but by the end of the song he gives up it. The swing from sweet, almost gentle tune to his decision that he doesn't have to settle down comes at the end of the song.

    He sees that she's/her lifestyle/whatever is fantastic, and he can imagine a beautiful life that way. But, while struggling against it, he "forms" himself in "wetsand", not in the constraint and pressure of sedimentary (~sedentary~) rock. He needs to be able to move, even though it makes him leave the ones he loves.
    mopcopon January 30, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit's about the sadness from the point of view of someone looking at people who've lost their sense of wonder
    de4dr4bbiton September 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentlove it, awesome feel.. maybe someone could explain the wet sand bit?

    in other news, i think its "My shadow side, so amplified, Keeps coming back dissatisfied"
    stugeon May 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwow.... i love this song!! Specially the whistling in the break. im thinking that your ideas are right papiLPS, nicely done.

    wet sand... hmm, it's like he's saying that most people can't build their lives and mature whilst constantly moving, like wet sand does, convulsing to any pressure, but he feels he has, and he needed that time of constantly changing and moving on to become what he has today? kinda works...
    Avatar-rockon May 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentconvulsing is sooo not the right word... meh
    Avatar-rockon May 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSearch Anthony Kiedis on google news search and click on the link titled "Peppers are lost in space". Don't worry, even though the beginning sounds like they're trashing RHCP, they later praise the new album. Further down the page, they talk about songs and have many song meanings. Supposedly this song is about Anthony having a fight with a girl, where Anthony believes in divine creation and the girl believes in evolution.
    pfmonkey25on May 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is one of my favorites off of the new album. I love the flow of it.

    I think AK is revealing something about himself and the environment that surrounds him when is in his true element. Think about it, if you put your hand in wet sand and take it out as to make a hand print, there is truely no form and nothing is defined. I think this is what he means by wet sand, the idea that perhaps this is the state that he as a person defines himself. Maybe he is asking his GF and soon to be wife to accept him as is and understand his nature.
    TheNostrandon May 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe wet sand part that is seeming to escape everyone is doing so because it means... nothing...
    when john frusciante was jamming the music to this at band practice before the lyrics were written and he was mumblin some random words, and anthiny heard some of em... one of the things john mumbled was "Wet Sand"... which anthony felt was just an incredible phrase... so, ya... thats what that is... anyway, this is one of my favorite slow jams on the cd, probably second right after slow cheetah...
    lnkndarknesson May 12, 2006   Link

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