Got It Togehter!
Future Fossil/Smog Veil Records
Got it Togehter! is a collection of tunes Chris Butler recorded over the years. The oldest tunes date form his days with Tin Huey and The Waitresses, with the most recent being brand new. What holds everything together is Butler’s penchant for playing with odd sounds, warped song structure and off kilter perspectives.
If this were a college essay, Butler’s thesis statement would be the opening track, “Physics”. Chris asserts, “Reality never applied to me, never did and never will.” If that’s true, then all the weird sounds and scenarios that follow make perfect sense. So a song about not wanting to be a parent with a rhythm track provided by a sonogram (“Mommy Glow”) shouldn’t be seen as unusual. Songs for Guys turns out to be tune about a female bass player who “doesn’t write songs for guys, her words are like walls that keep me outside.” The thing is, Chris has an intellectual crush on this bass player. He really wants to understand her and where she’s coming from. He even likes her graphic designer boyfriend.
“Awake” shares the awkward situation of going to funeral for someone you don’t think you know that well and finding out they considered you their best friend. Chris makes the situation even more awkward by trying to pick up the deceased’s girlfriend.
As someone who likes to travel as much as my finances allow, I appreciate the situation described in “Dromomania (Wind in My Shoes)”. Locals and a seasoned trekker make fun of the tourist trying to “go native.” “Aches for Gauguin, barely makes Gilligan.” And the whores at the hotel bar sing, “oh novice castaway. Oh passport stamp marooned, but you’ve got a back to go back to.” The tune is dedicated to Bruce Chatwin, the author of the book, Song Lines. Check out the book sometime.
The final song of the vinyl edition deals with aging gracefully. Well, maybe not gracefully, but not giving up. “Better Than I Ever Was” is a fun, upbeat pop song. “All of the dumb things that I’ve ever done, now just add up to who I’ve become. And all the bad breaks I’ve ever had, now count as wisdom, and it didn’t screw me up that bad.” It’s a pretty good pep song for old farts like … me.
The CD version of Got It Togehter! has two bonus tracks from Butler’s achieves. “Touch of Grey” was written before the Grateful Dead song of the some name. It’s an acoustic tune telling his grandfather’s story. “Curious Girl” is a synth pop tune recorded back in the ’90s with George Gilmore of Tall Lonesome Pines on lead vocals. It might have been a hit for someone back in the day. It’s probably the most “normal” song on the disc. It’s like the after diner mint at the end of an adventurous banquet.