Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow is Strawberry Alarm Clock‘s second album, released in early 1968 and following up their 1967 debut Incense And Peppermints. Many of the musical themes and lyrical concerns of the first album were explored further on Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow, resulting in an album that, impressively, is at turns gentler and weirder.
The LP begins with the claustrophobic “Nightmare Of Percussion”, followed directly by “Soft Skies, No Lies”, an unabashed sunshine-y pop song. These two tracks set the pace for the rest of the album: Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow is equal parts pleasant late-60s pop/psych and harrowing, disagreeable (but fascinating) dementia.
The dark side of the clock
Lyrically, the dark side would have to come out on top; even most of the sunny pop songs are fleshed out with mention of a dark and/or violent side. Most strikingly, “Go Back (You’re Going The Wrong Way)” is the album’s silliest, happiest music, but the tale told within speaks of an unending wheel of negativity being the natural way of the world.
When Strawberry Alarm Clock really lets the dark side take over, the results are scary indeed. “They Saw The Fat One Coming” is a creepy, acoustic minor-key song that perfectly sets up the album’s awful and awesome masterpiece, “Curse Of The Witches”. The adventurousness of these two odd tracks is later echoed by the album’s final three songs, a miniature three-sing suite called “Black Butter”. Where the Incense And Peppermints album contained such bleak treatises as “The World’s On Fire”, “Lose To Live”, and the ironic “Hummin’ Happy”, Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow seems to have the bottom completely fall out at times. The negativity is more mature and more deeply felt here (and, it must be stressed, altogether stranger). For fans of somber, evil-sounding psychedelia, the trip is a good one indeed.
On the other hand, Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow also has the Clock’s best and most soaring moment: “Pretty Song From Psych-Out”, written and recorded for the movie Psych-Out, which leads the album’s pop personality just like “Curse Of The Witches” leads the grotesque alter ego. Other pieces like “Sit With The Guru” and “Tomorrow” follow in this groovy psych/pop SAC tradition, while others like “Sitting On A Star” and “Black Butter, Past” sort of straddle the two camps.
This album is unreservedly recommended, however you get your hands on it; the musical layers are many and the thematic right angles are abrupt and thrilling, warranting many repeated listens to unravel the curious genius of the band at this time.
“Sit With The Guru” – 2:59
“Go Back (You’re Going The Wrong Way)” – 2:19
“Pretty Song From Psych-Out” – 3:15
“Sitting On A Star” – 2:55
“Black Butter, Past” – 2:23
“Black Butter, Present” – 2:10
“Black Butter, Future” – 1:32
The front cover appropriated
In 1993, The Strawberry Alarm Clock Anthology, a 2-CD compilation, was released, and it reproduced the cover of Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow, shrunk slightly to allow for a new text border. This has confused some buyers and sellers.
When buying Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow, be sure you’re getting the 1968 original; it’s the one where the old man’s beard and top of his head extend all the way to the edges and there is no text running around all four edges.