And the heat came down
I knew I was living in a long, long dream
when you fed me the black ice cream

and the heat rose up
I heard the loud loud buzzing of our son's go-kart
and the ice cream was blacker than the devil's heart
It was august the 19th, 1957
I fixed my eyes on you, fixed my eyes on you

Lyrics submitted by ClickForth

The Black Ice Cream Song song meanings
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  • +1
    General Commentwhenever i hear this, i think maybe there's a black and white picture of his parents, or someone's parents, outside in the summer, eating what looks like black ice cream, and their son is in the background driving his go-kart. and people used to write the dates on photos a lot more than they do now.. i don't know, i always think maybe he just wrote a song about some picture, and made it mean something different. seems like something darnielle might do.
    paisleyblueon August 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is one of the eeriest and most dreamlike and beautiful songs ever. I can picture this song perfectly but I don't know exactly what Darnielle wanted it to be interpreted as. Does anyone know?
    q_llysseson March 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment*shrugs*
    I was looking around for events of August 19, 1957... Couldn't find anything, but it was only a quick search.
    Unless I'm missing something, I think it's a personal event. Something connected to a family member, perhaps.
    PureSophiston May 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't know about anyone else, but black ice cream is just about the most disgusting thing I can think of. I like this song, but black ice cream just conjures up an image of like, crusty, rotten, generally putrid ice cream and I want to gag every time I hear it.
    RedDwarfon May 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think paisleyblue's interpretation is very elegant.

    for the sake of exhaustion however, i'd like to point out that there are a few kinds of ice cream that have a black color.

    Probably the best candidate is licorice ice cream, which seems to be rare to find outside of the midwest. It seems like it's most often homemade since it's a traditional dish and is probably an acquired taste. JD has a preoccupation with the midwest so i think this is a strong possibility.

    There are also a few japanese ice creams that are black in color, including one containng crushed sesame seeds. Since this is an older recipe it apparently has a taste and texture very different from what is normally thought of as ice cream. Also it stains your teeth black.
    proginoskeson November 07, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think it's a character piece. This guy is so disenchanted with reality that he'd rather stay in his head.

    The black ice cream is a sign - it tells him that it's a dream, but he chooses to ignore it. Instead he focuses on the lifelike-aspects: his son racing (maybe his son is dead in real life, or maybe he never had one and just enjoys the idea of family), his wife/girlfriend's eyes (maybe they're not together in real life, or he never had one and just enjoys the idea of love).

    It's like he's built up some fantasy land in his head, or taken a snapshot of his past and he's desperately trying to hold on to it despite the fact that it's not real.
    Aquarius121on July 31, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFunny, it is such a short simple song but so open to interpretation. Seems to me that the first verse is at night, he has a vision of someone feeding him black ice cream. Then in the morning he is woken up by his son's go kart. As he is becoming conscious, he realizes what day it is, and looks over at his wife. This reveals the "you" in the first verse to be his wife who is now lying next to him. So the dream becomes a dark vision about his wife trying to poison him or otherwise have it in for him. It's a guy in 1957 having a fucked up dream about his wife while his son is outside playing in the go-kart.
    aristotelianon September 29, 2016   Link

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