SONG: Built On Sand


“Built on Sand” [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Nature, 2 July 2019, “Time is running out for sand,” as used in the post “We’re running out of… sand?

OK, so, finally, and once again at the last minute, a song! From a computer! That works! It was a little weird – I sort of inherited this computer that had been unused for four years, tried to recover data from the hard drive for a friend, and then replaced a couple of parts and brought the thing back to life. And then, when I’d gotten the old files off my fallen soldier, I had these rough tracks and voice memos from the beginning of July that were already sort of set up, in a Thermals-y kind of way. And apparently I’d written lyrics, too, but totally forgot about them. Which turned out fine, because these new ones are better.

They’re about sand. Sand! It’s literally used as a symbol for something eternal and uncountable (I tried to work an hourglass into the chorus here, but the na-na-nas were better), and it’s running out. At least the kind we use to make most of what our civilization is built on. That’s a hook.

If I’d had my druthers, I’d have belted out the words while the house was empty instead of drawling them while everyone was asleep, but two months of dormancy was enough. Someday, maybe I’ll get a monitoring system beyond these headphones to get multiple voice tracks to sit right in the mix. But this is lo-fi, post-apocalyptic storytelling.

Now, let’s see if I can get a couple of penitential covers down. And maybe the other original that was in the hopper way back in the beginning of summer.


C – G – Am – D
Who could predict that the bricks would give out –
Computer chips could hit the bottom of the barrel?
It used to feel rude to go guzzling crude
Turns out that attitude blanked on the battle
F – E
Now the city walls – never get built at all

C – G – Am – D
The light bulb goes off – look, it’s made out of glass
Those things don’t get a pass, reach up and crack it
Look out the windows, check your rearview mirror
Things are getting nearer than they seem – keep track
F – E
and understand – it’s all built on sand

Na na-na-na na na, built on sand
Na na-na-na na na, built on sand
Na na-na-na na na, built on sand
Na na-na-na na na,

C – G – Am – D
There were pirates on the banks who emptied all our water tanks
But we gave thanks once the turbulence subsided
The desert sand wasn’t right so we drank the rivers dry
And dug the mud to crank supply till that collided
F – E
With the simple fact – we couldn’t put sand back

C – G – Am – D
Couldn’t mortar up the cracks or calculate the kind of taxes
it would take to grind our glasses back to grains
Because the concrete, calculators, lenses, asphalt getting cratered
All share a single link in our supply chain
F – E
so understand – it’s all built on sand

Na na-na-na na na, built on sand
Na na-na-na na na, built on sand
Na na-na-na na na, slips through the fingers of our hands
Na na-na-na na na