Another piano man has released a song about Middletown, the city home to The Most Beautiful Street in America (High Street), if you believe the potential words of either Mark Twain or Charles Dickens. This song is not new; it was actually released in October of 2015. However, kitab only just discovered this track and sent it my way, to my unexpected and extreme delight. Only with partial dismay did I find that this song was not an unreleased Drake track. I thought this likely because of his—presumably inspirational—trip to Middletown in October 2010.
The song, entitled “Middletown Is My Kind of Connecticut City, I Think” was penned and performed by Matt Farley. Before I get to my thoughts on the track, let’s give it a listen:
The track starts off with a rapturous blitz on several piano keys that I feel somewhat bad for. Farley opens by proudly belting “Middletown! Middletown. Middletown, Connecticut,” followed by a soft growl of “yeah yeah yeah.” If you manage to get halfway through the approximately 1.5 minute song, you’re greeted with a lyrical stutter of “M-m-m-m-m-middletown” and he pretty much goes with that for the rest of the song. It’s a wild ride of a track and can be tough on some ears, no doubt. The song seems ready-made for a long life in kindergarten classrooms and ironic arts students’ pregames.
It enters the growing canon (2 and counting) of Middletown anthems alongside Billy Joel’s “The River of Dreams,” which I was introduced to as a prefrosh via this Wesleying post by Justin, a blogger before my time. Joel’s song does not explicitly mention Middletown, but its corresponding music video from 1993 was filmed right here in town (proof below).
But what is Farley’s deal? I completely understand why Billy Joel would film a music video in Middletown, with him having grown up in Long Island and having become the torchbearer of oatmeal Americana. Connecticut is basically his backyard. I knew nothing about Matt Farley that would cause him to write a song about Middletown.
It turns out that Middletown isn’t the only Connecticut town that caught Farley’s eye. He has released songs about Portland, Putnam, Stratford, Bethel, Brookfield, Milford, and more. In fact, Farley has released over 18,000 songs through his one-man entertainment company Motern Media.
Vice has called him a “genius lunatic.” These 18,000 songs are subdivided into over 70 bands of which Farley is the sole musician, artist, singer, etc. The song about Middletown (and the others about Connecticut towns) were released under the moniker “The Guy Who Sings About Cities & Towns.” These bands typically release songs thematically related to their band name. And there’s one for everyone! Here’s one for film majors. And another one for medium-woke WestCo musician dudes. There’s also a Farley-only band called The Toilet Bowl Cleaners, who released a gem called “Barack Obama Farts.” That last one has a choice lyric:
For Obama to let a little gas slip out of his bum,
It makes him feel relaxed, not so nervous.
You can see a change on the looks of their faces
When the smell reaches the secret service.
In 2013, Farley reportedly raked in $23k from Spotify streaming revenues for his multifarious creations. According to the Motern Media website, he hopes to raise $1 million in revenue.
He isn’t alone in releasing hundreds of tracks at a time. NYU and MIT guest lecturer Brandon McCartney once released an 800+ song mixtape that was called “incredible” by Pitchfork. Former member of Das Racist and Wesleyan grad Kool A.D. has released 100-track mixtapes. He also released 10 mixtapes in total in 2016. While not as thoughtful, intelligent, and subversive as the works of these two artists, Matt Farley’s discography is remarkable. Well, the laborious achievement of such a discography is remarkable.
His track about Middletown did give me a slight headache, I’ll have to admit. But some of his stuff can be amusing and make for a sprightly time. Let’s hope they didn’t book all the acts for Zonker Harris Day yet, because this Massachussetts resident seems like the perfect fit.