SONG: Facts Will Save Us All


“Facts Will Save Us All” [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE:Steve Ballmer Serves Up a Fascinating Data Trove,” New York Times, 17 Apr 2017, as used in the post “Microsoft’s Ballmer sics big data on government spending.

This is a song from the perspective, maybe, of Steve Ballmer’s inner voice.

He is, after all, an emotional man (about things like developers! at least).

The chorus comes from something that I remembered hearing in a public radio interview about his new database – a throwaway line that got edited out of the archived audio and transcript, as far as I can tell. I can’t remember exactly what the phrase was – it might have been “facts to the rescue” or something else – but he and Kai Ryssdal both repeated it and chuckled in that way that you do when you say something a little too earnest and corny.

Musically, this came out of my infecting myself with about three earworms at once, when I made a playlist of cover songs to listen to at work while, uh, working. It was just supposed to be functional, focus-inducing background music, and instead I had Scout Niblett singing “No Scrubs” stuck on endless repeat in my mind for days, alongside Johnny Cash and Dum Dum Girls.

This wound up taking longer than it should have, and I don’t know why. At one point, I thought it was better off at a power-pop 120bpm, but it got written at 80bpm and there’s something about the dirge-like pace that goes along with the whole Diogenes man-with-a-lamp fact-seeking thing. Where’s that honesty?

What can we rely on now, here, in this place? How do we find our way back?

I kinda think the penitential cover I just did turned out better than this original, but there’s something here. An anthem for unreal times.

We’re looking for a man with a lamp in his hand
Looking for somebody going door to door
We’re looking for a reason for things we believe in
Looking for a reason to understand more

Nobody answers when you knock
It seems your number has been blocked
It seems there is no way
To get your message through
So what can we do?

* Facts matter
* Numbers matter
*Facts will save us all

I can figure out my reasons to think what I think
I can spell it out tomorrow with paper and ink
I can figure out my reasons to do what I will
I can diagram the factors and add up the billl

* Facts matter
* Numbers matter
*Facts will save us all