Coming from the band that named itself after the grain alcohol that could strip the paint off a car (but people still willingly ingest…still boggles my mind), Everclear’s “Heartspark Dollarsign” was a song that delved into the ugliness of racism, and the love that is needed to rise above it. The song, written by the band’s lead singer Art Alexakis, centers around an interracial relationship, with the protagonist having to deal with grief from his racist family members for having the nerve to date a black girl, seeing past the color of her skin and loving her for what she is.
“Time stops when the whispers blare
The voice drop hard, but the eyes still stare
The world resolves into a death’s head grin
‘Cause I walk with pride with a black girlfriend”
This song was released as a single from the band’s 1995 effort Sparkle and Fade, nestled between tracks about sex, wanton drug abuse, and other subjects I shouldn’t have been learning about through music when I was 12. However, I loved this album, and spun it frequently, not having yet fully developed a point of reference on the complexities of race relations, or on any of the other lurid subject matter addressed on the record. Musically, the song is fast and upbeat, and even throws in somewhat of a guitar solo (if you’ve read my music blogs up to this point, you now know that I’ll never stop gushing about solos).
“She said, she said, you’re possessed with a power bigger than the pain,” Alexakis screams in his throaty rasp.
“Heartspark Dollarsign” is actually quite an uplifting song, relating to the world that love SHOULD and could be blind, as long as we simply let it be. I attempted to find out if this song was autobiographical for Alexakis, but all I really found was rumor and conjecture. Regardless, whether it is based on a true story, or just written to send a message, it works on that level. Twenty years later, with everything that’s going on in this crazy, sick world of ours, everybody can use this kind of inspiration.