“Black Butter, Future”

“Black Butter, Future” is the final in a trilogy of songs that closes Strawberry Alarm Clock‘s 1968 LP Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow.

If “Black Butter, Past” was the sound of rock music past and “Black Butter, Present” was the sound of circa-1968 psychedelia, “Black Butter, Future” throws a curveball by being decidedly non-futuristic sounding, despite its title. Beginning with a merry little chrous of a cappella la-la-la-la-la-las, this shortest of the “Black Butter”s (just under 1:30) transfers the destructiveness of the other two songs to an object in your shoe. Again, you are advised (rather calmly and matter-of-factly this time) to smash it, hear its cries, and learn the meaning of black butter. You know, like you have been doing if listening to the album in order.

So do you get the meaning of black butter after the three songs? No? Neither do I. But no matter; “Black Butter, Future” ends the trilogy and the album with a classic, jazzy SAC xylophone solo, and if the future of music didn’t actually turn out to be xylophones, well it certainly wasn’t the Clock’s fault.

All in all, the “Black Butter” suite comprises one of the weirder and more interesting excursions of Strawberry Alarm Clock’s career. Its dense imagery, complicated structure, and impenetrable allegorical bent make it a perfect topper for the album, the most way-out of all Strawberry Alarm Clock’s albums and one of the top underrated classics of the 1960s psychedelic era.

Appears on

LP: Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow (1968)
LP: Changes (1971 compilation)
CD: The Strawberry Alarm Clock Anthology (1993 compilation)

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