Album: Stadium Arcadium (2006)
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  • 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
    Yeah Writer/s: Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith, John Frusciante, Michael Balzary
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 55

  • Kate from Boston, MaI just listened to this song again. I've heard it before, but it never really stuck out to me until right now. I'm walking with my headphones in, and the song came on..., and I read the lyrics . Out of idle curiosity, I googled its meaning and read all of your comments. I think he's talking about himself when he says we, meaning the shadow of darkness side that is within him, and the lightness of being within him. His soul. Im not a professor, so I'm not going to refer to all the lyrics to back up what I'm saying - everybody knows the lyrics. I don't believe he is speaking to a woman at all when saying we over and over. When he says the shadow side, that's him. He's okay though, he's alright. Now he's happy, because he's traveling from coast to coast, one more dose to celebrate. He's leaving the woman. His dark side does not form in the wet sand because, it has no soul. His light side is all heart and has soul, as he makes reference to in the beginning. Then the reference to Jesus comes into play. Jesus is with him, and it is only then that he is fully aware. He makes reference to this when he says conscience in the beginning. Now he knows that Jesus is with him, having been speaking to Jesus for so long about his dark side versus his sunnier side. The song is not about a relationship with a woman (he even makes light of that notion by saying takeout bride. It's in a subtle, somewhat sarcastic way). Footprints in the Sand is a biblical poem about Jesus. Jesus' footprints do not form in the sand i.e. the wet sand. It's not the woman briefly mentioned, or the takeout bride that he left and now he is going Coast to Coast. He celebrating with one more dose. He's been talking to Jesus about his dark and sunny side for so long, lost and unaware, that Jesus was already with him. The end of the song is Jesus carrying him in the sand, because now he realizes and is fully aware (there's a reference to his conscience in the beginning), that Jesus is with him. Now he knows..., as Jesus is carrying him in the sand, the sand in which Jesus does not form in. Peace.
  • Pedro Daniel from PortugalWet sand like bulding Castles at the Beach at the shore
  • Lew from WisconsinI know RHCP lyrics don't always have a defined meaning, but after thinking a lot about these lyrics, I think the song is about AK wanting to explore he and his partner's inner darkness in a profound way, but finding that his partner is not willing to think and reflect as deeply as him about her inner darkness. In this case, the "wet sand" is the inner darkness that humans experience, and while his partner can't "form" into something more profound out of it, Kiedis can — he's willing to explore and grow from his inner darkness, and he finds that it forms a stronger version of himself.

    Throughout the song, he intersperses two themes: (a) that their lives are dark (e.g. "I'm betting now where we collide, the universe will shift into a low" ; "the disrepair of Norma Jean could not compare to your routine"), and (b) that this darkness must be fully explored (e.g. "someone start the car, time to go" ; "I'd like to say we did it for the better" ; "Right on the verge, just one more dose, I'm traveling from coast to coast, my theory isn't perfect but it's close"). He views living through darkness as something that must be explored in all its profundity. However, he then introduces a third theme: (c) that his partner is not into such deep thoughts (e.g. "the travesties that we have seen are treating you like Benzedrine, automatic laughter from a pro" ; "I'd like to get to know you a little better baby, God knows that I really have tried" ; "you don't form in the wet sand — I do").

    So, it's both about love, and about a more universal theme of darkness. He sees love as a great way to explore the beauty of each others' darkness, but is disappointed that his partner doesn't have those same ambitions.

    That's my thoughts, anyway! Of course, anyone could interpret these lyrics however they want — that's how it should be and how it's meant to be — but this seems more consistent with the actual lyrics of the song than other theories I've read.
  • Anonymous‘You don’t form in the wet sand, I do’ shows the difference between them, he forms she doesn’t.
  • Jaxon from ChicagoLots of interesting insights. IMO, it’s a fool’s errand trying to fully interpret drug-inspired lyrics, they’re a combination of the lucid and irrational. There are elements of love, breakup, religion & relapse in the lyrics, and the stuff that doesn’t make sense shouldn’t.
  • Natalie from GeorgiaI have read Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis, which is his autobiography, and based on the reading, I would like to think this song is about a mixture between a girl and drug abuse. In the book, he mentions how every single one of his heroin relapses would occur after a breakup with a girl. “My shadow side, so amplified, keeps coming back dissatisfied” refers to the fact that he goes through breakup after breakup, which keeps making his mental health worse and worse. “Someone start the car, time to go, you’re the best I know” refers to all the times he was itching to relapse on heroin after a breakup, and that it’s the best he knows because it’s always there for him when every girl he’s with ends up disappearing from his life. “My sunny side has up and died, I’m betting now where we collide the earth will shift into a low” is referring to the happiness he felt in the relationship with a girl has died, and now he must collide with his drug addiction which will ultimately cause his earth to shift to a low. “The travesties that we have seen are treating me like Benzedrine” is even a straight up reference to drug use. Benzedrine is a trademark for amphetamine. “I saw you there so unaware, those hummingbirds all in your hair” is a flashback to when he first fell for a girl, or for any girl he’s been with, explaining how it started off as such a good and beautiful thing. (To contrast with how dark it turned, leading to a break up). “Right on the verge, just one more dose, I’m traveling from coast to coast” is also a blatant reference to drug use. “Dose” as in a dose of heroin or whatever other drugs he shot up. This line explains how his addiction was intertwined with his touring and traveling with the Chili Peppers, and how even on the road for tour it was impossible to resist “just one more dose.” “My theory isn’t perfect, but it’s close” refers to the fact that he uses heroin to medicate with and cope with his problems, such as break up. His theory isn’t perfect but it’s close, meaning that the drugs temporarily solve the problem but they aren’t a perfect solution because they just lead to further destruction. “I’m almost there, why should I care?” Refers to his attempts at sobriety, and how he’d frequently tell himself “I’ll just get high for two days and then I’ll continue to be sober.” So he is not quite sober fully, not quite there, but he’s close enough so he doesn’t care enough not to prevent himself from another relapse. The line “you don’t form in the wet sand” could be speaking to one of two things: one could be the drugs. In the end, they don’t form in the wet sand. They don’t truly help him. Or it could be referring to a girl whom he had a break up with. She doesn’t form in the wet sand, meaning, in the end she just leaves him and doesn’t continue to be by his side to help him and love him through things like addiction. In the end, her promised love and support is not true and disappears when things get rough, or in his words, when the sand gets wet. Hopefully this makes sense, if you read Scar Tissue you will probably understand the drug references much better.
  • Brian from New YorkI think the verses in this song reflect the human condition. How one day a person can be sad, but the next can hold a whole new day full of wonder and happiness. In my mind RHCP were reflecting how their lives, as all of ours, amount to next to nothing (castles in wet sand). The one way to fully create an impact in our world ("form in the wet sand") is to create something that lasts beyond ones lifetime. In essence this song, along with the rest of their music, has enabled them to live on long past their biological lifetimes. They form in the wet sand. An inspiration to artists, musicians, creators, etc. Plus one of the most amazing solos, god I love this song.
  • Dallas from Bismarck, NdI believe the song is religious and has to do with the christen church working off of Jesus's suffering. So the next time he comes back there will be way more sin to suffer for so the universe would shift into a real low.
    The song is told from the point of view of god back and fourth with someone who is in gods shadow, like John Frusciante. My shadow side, so amplified, Keeps coming back dissatisfied, Elementary son but it's so
    God, the universe, keeps coming seeing that his shadow side is amplified and it's elementary that we, as humans, would pick ying over yang.
    Humanities love affair with everywhere, the Good and the bad, and since this world is mostly bad, a lot of sin, was innocent. "start up the car time to go" Another bad things for the planet is the burning of gasoline which we do a lot of.
    God is the Best, obviously. My sunny side has up and died, I'm betting that when we collide, The universe will shift into a low - this is talking about the person who wrote this is thinking that when god comes back he'll have to die again because of all the sin we've created.
    Then, after that the universe would shift into a low cause it would take so much of god's magic to make everything pure again which would make him shift into a low
    The travesties that we have seen, Are treating me like Benzedrine, Automatic laughter from a pro - This means ever since the making of the christen church we've seen a ton of wars, because in the renaissance the had people like Michael Angelo and others to figure out how to gain
    immortality, and it was through changing gods plan that they'd have this, so this part is god shrieking at the automatic laughter from pros trying to change god's plan for immortality, pros who caused travesties
    The rest of the song is pretty much coping with the end of the world and having something like a wife to keep from thinking about the end as we know it. Also a few references back to god again. That's all I got out of the song, but it's just me.
  • Scott from Memphis, TnThe way I interprete this is a little different but it makes sense to me. It's about this guy that thinking about commuting suicide. "my shadow side so amplIfied keeps coming back dissatisfied" he is talking about his consience pretty much here and he says no matter what he does his bad side jeeps coming back and makes him suicidal because it's not yet "satisfied". and then when he says "my love affair with everywhere was innocent why do you care?" he is talking with consience and basically saying I used to love and appreciate everything but you keep messing with me and bothering me. "my sunny side has up and died" basically his good side is done and there is no more to do. "I'm betting that when we collide the universe will shift into a low". So he's saying that once it hits (dies) everything will be done and stop. "my what a good day.... " this is a foreshadowing to what happens next so ill explain it then. "I saw you there so unaware those humming birds all in your hair" he saw the mist beautiful girl he had ever seen and she was "unaware" of the fact that she
    actually ends up saving his life. "my what a good day for a walk outside. I'd like to get to know you better. God knows that I really tried" after seeing the girl he now has his sunny side back. He wants to know her and god knows that because he knows that she saved his life. "Right on the verge, just one more dose. I'm traveling from coast to coast. My theory isn't perfect, but it's close" he is looking for her but he just can't quite find her. His looking for her is not perfect bu t it's close. And when he says " you don't fall in the wet sand" i believe he is implying that when someone falls they get back up. So if someone fell in wetsand and they got up there impression in the sand would be washed away. But hers won't. "you don't fall at all" she is not trying to fall. She is making and impression in the sand and staying there so it can't be washed away. And if you think about it the sand Is basically his consience because before when "my shadow side so amplified keeps coming back disatisfied" it's basically saying that the water keeps coming back up and taking the beautiful things in the sand away but when she is there she stays and doesn't get washed away.
    As you noticed I didn't explain all of the verses in here because I don't believe that all of them are there to explain the story. There probably there because the chili peppers know that making music sadly isn't only about meaning. There only in there to make the song sound better for people that don't care what it's really about. I have no idea
    if this interpretation is correct. Maybe it is or isn't. Maybe it is and the peppers didn't even realize they made it like this but whatever. Thank you for reading if you made it this far.
  • Anthony from London, United KingdomThis is a great song, Frusciante's solo at the end is just amazing
  • John Stewart from Lagrange, IlI think it means that he has problems himself so as h dumps them on his girl friend or even just a close friend he tries to change them. but they dont form in the wet sand and dont change
  • Gilson from Curitiba, BrazilHi guys. IMHO, that part "You don't form in the wet sand, you don't form at all" means that the Anthony's ex-girlfriend doesn't stayed by his side, walking with him on the wet sand (which means that she doesn't form footsprints in the wet sand, beside of his footprints). This can refer to the Anthony's life (in a certain parable, the set of footprintsof a man, formed in a beach, that represents the path of his life). The guitar solo in sequence finish it in an epic way.

    Hope my english is good enough for you guys to understand.
  • Kria C. from Skagland, SlovakiaOMG from 4:01 on is just orgasmic! I LOVE IT
  • Jennifer from Hermitage, TnI interpret the song to mean that the woman is very much more shallow than he or in capable of grasping concepts known by more worldly men such as himself possibly an airhead or airsign. Maybe she is questioning who she is more than he does or not at all.
  • Matio from Slovenj Gradec, SloveniaI read somewhere that the solo in the end of the song was improvised. Is that true?
  • Jon from Fort Collins, CoMy interpretation of the wet sand lyric was that he had issues that weighed him down and left forms in the wet sand, but she was not emotionally heavy enough to.
  • Bare from Zadar, CroatiaI think that girl wanted sth he was not ready for and that sth is "The mother, the father, the daughter." And he says "I'm consecrated but I'm not devout" By this he bespoke he knows the value of family but he just not ready yet. And "you don't form in the wet sand" that she is complicated and won't wait for him.
  • Smitty from Boston, Mathis has to have a religious meaning. The mother, the father, the daughter... and there is a story from the bible where someone is walking with god, however there are only 1 set of footprints left behind, i.e. you dont form in the wet sand.... anyway i would love to find out the factual meaning haha its killing me
  • Daniel from Orange, CaI think this song is about a complicated woman he has fallen in love with. I can relate to this song, "You don't form in the wet sand" I think is referring to how she is so complicated and is not like him in anyway. Very good song, very good album. Mars>>>Jupiter
  • Michelle from Plymouth, MaRHCP--not losing edge in any way shape or form. I think this song is easily one of the best songs they have ever made not to mention the best song of the ablum. I deffinatly think that when he says "you dont form with the wet sand", he means that the woman isnt isnt like him in one way or antoher
  • Robert from Houston , Txi believe this song is about falling in love with the perfect girl that you will never find hence the term "you dont form in the wet sand" meaning that this girl is never gonna song on stadium
  • Nicole from Chicago, IlThis is a very pretty song with great lyrics and instrumentals. It shows how talented they are. They're not losing their edge!
  • Dylan from Oneida, Wii think it means she doesnt easily adapt, like when the sand isnt wet its each little spec, but when its wet you do whatever with it..i dont know i might be a little out there, but if its like the way i'd relate to the song, he's always trying to figure things out like philosophies and he keeps switching what he thinks but she's adament(spell?) on what she thinks. this is one song that i could be totally way off on the meaning of it
  • Leandro from Fitchburg, Mai think its the girl thats the problem.
    "you dont form in the wet sand," i think means that she's not commited and "i do," he is and wants to go further but cant.
  • Double from Amsterdam, NetherlandsI think the wet sand part means that the girl is not the problem for the potential relationship, but he is. He is not ready, or there is something that make's the relationship impossible.
  • Allen from Hoquiam, WaI believe it could have some sort of religious conatone? AK uses the lyrics " I am concecrated but not devout" and the "You don't form in the wetsand" He is possibly signafying that believes in God, but he doesn't believe in Jesus. There is a famous poem "Footprints" refering that when the guys notice there was only one set of footprints is when Jesus carried the guy. Thus, AK is saying only his are forming and not Jesus'? A theory of course.
  • Handah Jane from Grafton, United Stateslove this song
    its one of the best sad love songs
    i reckon its about ak loving someone who doesnt love him
    i think
    and i know exactly how dat feels
    but it means soo many different things to different people which is amazing
    peppers r soo not losing their edge
    theyre getting better
    frusciantes best work is this song
  • Greg from Hartford, Cthe's saying he would grow complete as a person in the life he lived in which he discovered the truth of reality. where as some people like me think knowing that much loses all its specialness and hey whats the point. but he looks past that and salvages everything to make the most of what he's got where as i just throw it all away and pray that next time i get a better script.
  • Tricia from Edinburgh, ScotlandStadium Arcadium, I would say the best yet, they are maturing along with the audience, the older I get the better they get, maybe we(all/they) just started to grow up. Ditch the drugs? Save the planet next? I think not?
  • Bert from Pueblo, NmThe Norma Jean line has nothing to do with the lame screamo band. Norma Jean is Marilyn Monroe's birth name. That makes more sense, especially since Anthony Kiedis is not a fan of loud screamy metal.
  • Lexie from Haifa, IsraelThe amazing thing about the peppers is that a certain song can be the weirdest and most twisted combination of words ever and have some deep hidden meaning about life or whaterver.
    love this song.
    love the peppers.
  • Doug from Newark, NjThe ending line (forming in the wet sand) is a curiosity. Disagree that the band is losing its edge; they are better than ever. Disc 1 of Stadium Arcadium (Jupiter) ranks with Side 2 of the Beatles' Abbey Road album. Just a magnificent piece of work. Every song has a personality, and is the result of years of imagination and effort.
  • Tom from Manchester, EnglandThe song is about creation theories not drugs or anything else. the boy believes in creation and the girl evolution and is about why they can't be together. the wet sand is referring to the wet sand which according to the bible god made man out of. this is true. promise.
  • Nikie from Stockholm, SwedenFor me this song means.. by "you don't form in the wet sand", is that everything is put out for them, he've already embraced it, but she won't take it. anyone get what I'm saying? Anyways.. Love this song.
  • Tom from In New Jersey, NjIs the line about "Norma Jean" a reference to the band after their first singer left?
  • Nick from Pittsburgh, PaThis song is beautiful. I think this and Snow are the heart of the album. I love this band and its been a joy watching them grow and mature. Each and every one of them is a beautiful person, and it often brings me to tears when I think of how they have influenced my life. RHCP forever!
  • Kyle from Fresno , CaI read somewhere that anthony wrote the lyrics as being a conversation between an athiest and a theist which makes sense to me if I think about as being about religion. but it can mean different things depending on what you want to think about it.
  • Stan from Cannes, FranceRHCP got this holy touch, like if the music they play was coming from out of there. UNREAL. They know the right harmonies, the right chord circles which are the perfection, the magic frequencies which are part of the universe, the light, everything is frequency, these guys hack your life !
  • Liz from The Town That Never Sleeps, NvI Love The RHCP!!!
    I should be seeing them January 28th
    anyone in the tampa area going?
    hit me up guys.
  • Maggie from San Francisco, Cai always thought that the "you don't form in the wet sand" part was refering to the girl who was still immature, and did not yet have enough depth to make a lasting impression or impact, to form in the wet sand..but i dont know.
    i saw the peps in boston! incredable!!!!
  • Steve from Grand Rapids, Mibryttan u have no idea what ur talking about chili peps are as good as they have ever been
  • Mark from Lincoln, EnglandWet Sand is pure genius. I think Kiedis is talking about his difficult relationships during or following his battle with drugs. The ending,
    'You don't form in the wet sand'is wonderful and it means so many different things to different people. I think it explains how AK's girlfriend doesn't adapt to form a stable relationship, but the song means more each time I listen to it - which is all the time!
  • Bridget from Montreal, CanadaIs Norma Jean refering to Marylin Monroe? RHCP is not losing their edge. If what you mean by losing their edge is clean ( not addicted to drugs) and mature then you're right. They are still amazing in every aspect and very for a bunch of men in their 40s (with acception of John) they are pretty damn edgy.
  • Jay from Hartford, Ctmaybe the woman ("you) doesn't mold her personality at all to adapt to the relationship (don't form in the wet sand"). she doesn't change at all to help the relationship, while anthony changes himself for her ("i do"). The 'disfunctional, complicated' woman is to stubborn to change at all for anthony, and the relationship falls apart. maybe, i dunno. this albums great, though, really well done.
  • Andrew from Sydney, AustraliaI always thought you dont form in the wet sand meant that she wasnt really there
  • Jo-c from Lima, PeruSomewhere I read that this song was about Anthony's perfect girl, that he'll never meet.
  • Bryttan from Odessa, TxThank you Oliver. :) Now even the parts I thought I already understood make even more sense.
  • Thebunny8me from Wilton, Caafter putting more thought into it maybe it means that he has everything figured out. He's real, he's there (like an imprint in wet sand) but she is still finding herself in a way. I dunno, just a thought. Oliver, I'm seeing them Aug 28! so excited too!!!
  • Oliver from Amsterdam, NetherlandsCould the Wet Sand part be that you can't form a relationship unless there's a stable base?
    You (2 people) don't form (a relationship) in the wet sand (unstable foundations).
    I went to see RHCP in England, and I got shivers when they played this song.
  • Grayson from Cleveland, Ohthe lyrics listed are incorrect as well...
  • Grayson from Cleveland, OhBeautiful song. i believe it is the centerpiece of Stadium Arcadium.
  • Allyson from In My Own Little World, TxBeautiful song...kinda reminds me of a relationship I was in but didn't work out...and yeah, but I don't understand what the 'wet sand' part means at the end either. Anyone care to offer their theories? lol.
  • Thebunny8me from Wilton, CaMy favorite song by the chili peppers. i understand the song except for one thing. what does he mean by "you don't form in the wet sand"?
  • Mampoop from Montreal, United StatesIncredible song. One of the best on Stadium Arcadium.
  • Bryttan from Odessa, TxPretty song,kinda sad that there loseing their edge.
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