Talk:College Town

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Michigan's brain[edit]

It was John Linnell who once exclaimed, "We must eat Michigan's brain!" However, it appears that John Flansburgh has had his brain trained on Michigan lately. Along with "Say Nice Things About Detroit", this is his second end-of-relationship song this year to reference the Wolverine State. Makes me wonder if there really might be someone special to him in his past there...or if it's simply a coincidence aligning with the typical TMBG unreliable narrator. --MisterMe (talk) 08:24, 10 November 2015 (EST)

Weak and Middle of the Road[edit]

A filler. The song almost certainly started it's life as the melody line that Flans sings, as the backing, such as it is, is very simple piano. Lacking in melodic variety Flans needs to combine singing very well (which he does) with a studio effect on the vocal to distract us from just how little is going on. Lyrically a variation on the break-up song. A nice little shuffle on the piano on the fade out is my favourite bit, but it's not enough to lift this weak song. The fact remains that it's the kind of MOR that the band originally set out to subvert. I'll Sink Manhattan is a song with a similar if darker theme but that had a much more left field arrangement. I doubt I'll ever listen to College Town again as I find it a bit boring. I also doubt they'll play it live. (Mr Tuck)

Geez; what the heck MOR have TMBG been sounding like lately? I want specific artists' names. All the middling stuff I hear on the radio or in commercials doesn't have such brevity in structure and creativity in its use of effects. Even when TMBG play it straight, they ultimately don't, and that's a continuation of what so many of us have always loved about 'em. Their particularly recent ability to sound somewhat conventional, yet ultimately include enough elements to elude mainstream tastes, is a big part of what compels me to their newer material.
I like "College Town" quite a bit. Nothing revolutionary whatsoever, but it might provide some rare element of continuity in the whole Dial-A-Song thing. As MisterMe mentioned, there's the Michigan connection, and musically, there's one part that PRECISELY mimics "Madam, I Challenge You to a Duel" from earlier in the year, which given the dour nature and similar arrangement of both songs, may not be a coincidence. The post-"Glean" "adult" stuff, to my ears, has been pretty interesting and more consistently strong. And apart from "It Said Something," it all seems to be a bit downtrodden and reserved ("To A Forest," "Detroit," "What Did I Do..." "Trouble Awful..." "Impossibly New," et al). I'm looking forward to seeing how the Dial-A-Song thing ends, and would be pretty psyched for a darker, bummer record to result from the final third of material. -- adamspektor (talk)
This song sounds a good deal like Fountains of Wayne (particularly "Utopia Parkway"), which isn't too surprising given the fact that one of the FoW members produced Mink Car all those years ago. FoW have never been particularly groundbreaking, but they have a good way with highly melodic tunes and clever lyrics...much like two guys we know of named John. :-) --MisterMe (talk) 11:55, 11 November 2015 (EST)

Good spot. Very similar, College Town just a bit slower. Both lack a middle 8, but Utopia Parkway has guitar solos to get around that. Someone one day will do an interview with bands about how annoying it is when you write a song and you try and try and fail to write a middle 8. Paul McCartney once commented how much Lennon struggled writing them! (Mr Tuck)

Speaking of those Beatle boys, I can't shake some kindred association between this song and She's Leaving Home. Anyway this feels like one of those songs that's fully formed and successful at being what it was intended to be but unsuccessful in 'reaching' me. It feels like a slight, formal, coy experiment, and sounds like crystallized energy-less stately pop. ~ magbatz 11:51, 21 November 2015 (EST)

It's a distant association though. Apart from the tempo they don't have much in common. To be fair we're comparing one of the fabs best ever songs with a Giants song that wouldn't make their top 150! (Mr Tuck)

Why does Flans sing this one so out of tune? Is there some joke I'm not getting?

I personally like the minimalistic feel of this song (which is further enhanced by the music video). I think it's nice, when put alongside many instrumental heavy songs like "Daylight" and "It Said Something" to have a song like this, which just has a simple feel to it. I think that it shines the most alongside some of the other recent songs.