“Miss Attraction” is a song from Strawberry Alarm Clock‘s 1969 album Good Morning Starshine which was also released as the b-side of the single “(You Put Me On) Stand By”. The single take was shorter — punchier and more concise — than the album version, which featured extended jamming. Both versions are on the LP.
“Miss Attraction” is one of the band’s best-ever songs, dominated by a very righteous chorus of overdubbed fuzzed lead guitar lines, as well as the tough vocal snap of Jim Pitman. The song is very well written, with some chord changes and key shifts giving the track much of its drama. The backing is funky, with great drumming and some catchy hand claps.
Some band members have since mentioned how “Miss Attraction” was intended to bring the Clock back to mainstream success, but have partially blamed the lyrics for missing the mark. This writer disagrees; sure, the words may be simplistic and inane in a typical rock style, but so what? Their rhythm fits the song great, and they have a neat blend of plaintive pleading and confident strutting, as the singer flirts with the titular object of desire with an unseemly sneer:
“Hey Miss Attraction
I hope it’s me”
“I heard your heartbeat
(I got close enough)
Hey Miss Attraction
Sure got some good stuff”
Each tiny verse ends with a great sudden stop of the music where the riotous gallimaufry of fat electric guitar notes rises as one single powerful entity. It’s a fantastic sound, and a glorious moment that is thankfully repeated over and over during the song for the benefit of its lucky listeners.
The album version
The longer album version of “Miss Attraction” is an entirely different take (in a different key) than the single version; it’s a tad slower and has a long middle section where the band engages in some great, frighteningly psychedelic jamming. Everyone gets in on the action, especially the guitar and the sweeping organ, while the rhythm section cooks along behind it all. During one part of the solo section, the entire song cascades rather dementedly down the scale; it’s a really awesome moment. This is as unified, musically, as the band ever was really; there is genuine power in this version.
The single version
Shorter, punchier, and with the great guitar parts mixed higher and more clearly, the single version of “Miss Attraction” is the one to go to if you want a pithier track with some but not all of the album version’s extended jamming — which is here but in a briefer form. The single version has some really great keyboard work from Mark Weitz, and (as with the longer version) the guitar tone is so thick it sounds like something from The World In A Sea Shell running around without its clothes on: fat but raw. (N.B.: As both versions of “Miss Attraction” were always on the album, it’s a slight misnomer to label one ‘the album version’, but tradition is tradition.)