“Sea Shell”

“Sea Shell” is the leadoff track on Strawberry Alarm Clock‘s 1968 album The World In A Sea Shell. A dense, lush and slow-moving song, “Sea Shell” has a gorgeous melody but some ill-conceived ocean sounds and sappy orchestral overdubs, resulting in a song that may be too somnambulistic for fans of the band’s previous work.

The overall theme of “Sea Shell” is pretty simple, and maudlin: a broken-hearted “boy from California” puts a sea shell to his ear and listens forlornly to the sound of the ocean, wishing he’d “never ever loved her” and blubbering that all he has left is the sea shell.

As a song, “Sea Shell” is an exercise in constipated murkiness; released as a single it proved to miss the mark of public opinion, though it was successful in accurately heralding Strawberry Alarm Clock’s new direction after its 1968 lineup changes. It certainly is a world away from the celebration of Incense And Peppermints and the genuine lunacy of Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow.

Appears on

LP: The World In A Sea Shell (1968)
45: “Sea Shell” b/w “Paxton’s Back Street Carnival” (Uni 55093) (1968)
LP: The Best Of Strawberry Alarm Clock (1970)
CD: Strawberries Mean Love (1992 compilation)
CD: The Strawberry Alarm Clock Anthology (1993 compilation)

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