Song 221: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, “Bridges, Squares” (2003)

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There’s something exciting about a place you know intimately being portrayed in art. The not-bad comedy Housesitter was partially filmed in my hometown, and whenever I see any local landmarks show up on screen, including a few that are half a mile from the house where I grew up, I get a tinge of excitement. (It’s the little things.)

“Bridges, Squares” prominently features Kendall Square, the neighborhood where I work and frequently wander. As Ted Leo thinks about his place in history and nature, he’s standing (I assume) on the Longfellow Bridge, with the skylines of Cambridge and Boston within his view. From the Longfellow, you can see the Museum of Science, the Hatch Shell, the Citgo sign, the Prudential, and the Hancock. It’s a beautiful spot, and I can see it would inspire Leo to write a song about not ossifying.

I love Ted Leo because his music is almost always exhilarating, yet I can’t classify it; it’s some odd combination of punk, new wave, and Jam-like mod rock. This song contains all the things I love about Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, from the breakneck pace of the electric guitars to the surprising breakdown at about 2:35. He’s capable of consistency and surprise in equal measure, just like Boston.

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