Edifice Madrigal (Song)

Back in 2003, I had the pleasure of being in a band called The Letter A with three of my favorite people on earth: Barry Anderson, Steve Davis, and Zeth Lundy. It was not your usual band — Zeth lived in LA, the rest of us were in Portland, so the songs were written by mail and recorded in one whirlwind weed-addled two-day session when Zeth came up to visit. The resulting nine tracks are a decidedly lo-fi affair, but there were redeeming moments amid the shaky harmonies and muddy mixdown.

The one album is the only evidence of the band — we played no shows, had no sophomore effort, and had no dramatic falling out to feature on a VH1 flashback show. Edifice Madrigal was the album-closing, lighter-waving, bombastic ode to urban sprawl that blows up just after the three-minute mark, and listening eleven years later, I confess to having a glowing pride for the song and the lyrics, which are in my humble opinion among the best I’ve written. The song and the lyrics appear below. Personally, I think it sounds better loud.

Barry Anderson – drums
Steve Davis – bass, guitar, vocals (the second voice you hear)
Zeth Lundy – guitar, vocals (the third voice you hear)
Bill Reagan – piano, vocals (the first voice you hear)

concrete flows like lava / as cities keep erupting / urban manifest destiny
like flames consuming oxygen / pavement devours landscapes / perpetual replication
pillars of molten neon / bright enough to block out stars / this is as far as the eyes can see
a child’s Light Bright horizon / incandescent halo / aurora metropolis

monuments dedicated to hubris
steel and stone and glass Mount Olympus
the heights to which evolution has brought us

miles of elevators / engaged in constant motion / never really go anywhere
while riders stand in silence / staring as the numbers flash / confirming the ordinal sequence
self-contained model atmospheres / exponential dollhouse / no need to breach the lobby
all hail to the architect / designing our seclusion / bringing community to conclusion

monuments dedicated to hubris
steel and stone and glass Mount Olympus
the heights to which evolution has forced us

yet in so many small towns called home
scraping the sky is all we could think about
in a city where seven stories was all that they ever wrote
we were counting down ‘til we could get out

just for one moment to feel you’re on top of the world

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