“An Angry Young Man”

“An Angry Young Man” is a track from Strawberry Alarm Clock‘s 1968 album The World In A Sea Shell. Although its title would suggest a tough, aggressive rock song, the recording is in fact quite mellow and rich. It does feature a few interesting touches — particularly when a piercing sitar note squirts up here and there, propping the song up like poles in a sagging tent, an echo of the band’s musical adventurousness on its earlier albums Incense And Peppermints and especially Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow. There is also a pretty groovy organ and a nice acoustic guitar buried in the mix, audible particularly on the fade-out of this super-short song.

The vocals are sung by a lovely chorus, and paint a tragic (if uninteresting) picture of the titular youth who comes from a broken and unsupportive home (the father abandons the family, and the mother places the blame with her son). He is unable to make friends with other kids and falls in with a rough street gang — but then meets a girl and marries her. All is saved. Ho-hum.

Even on an album rife with opulent orchestration, “An Angry Young Man” unfortunately tends to overdo it, although in classic SAC style the song does present an uncanny duality in the way the gruff tale is presented on such a soft musical cushion. Furthermore, if you aren’t the type of music fan to discount the song right off the bat due to its plush string arrangement, the orchestration is rather pretty in its way. Overall, “An Angry Young Man” is rather a love/hate kind of song; any listener is likely to form some opinion of it.

Appears on

LP: The World In A Sea Shell (1968)
45: “Barefoot In Baltimore” b/w “An Angry Young Man” (Uni 55076) (1969)
LP: The Best Of Strawberry Alarm Clock (1970 compilation)

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