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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

On the beat: “Ants From Up There” by Black Country, New Road


Just days before the album “Ants From Up There” was released on Jan. 31, Black Country, New Road announced their frontman and co-founder Isaac Wood was leaving the band. It seemed sudden and unexpected, especially with their sophomore album arriving shortly. 

However, within the context of the album that was released on Feb. 4, Wood’s sudden departure seems to make sense. “Ants From Up There” tells the tale of a crumbling, codependent, one-sided, long-distance relationship, which also appears to be one big metaphor for Wood’s departure. 

Throughout the album, the listener hears bits and pieces of the relationship. The song “Concorde,” which is also the name of a supersonic plane, suggests a long-distance relationship. It mentions that Wood struggles with only being with this person on his phone or looking at their pictures in his attic.

“Bread Song” highlights the toxicity and the one-sidedness of the relationship. Wood is trying to put in effort through phone calls, but his affection isn’t being reciprocated. Despite his love interest’s obvious lack of care, he still tries to save the relationship. The toxicity is further explored by a metaphor of leaving breadcrumbs in his lover’s bed, hence the song’s name. 

Wood leaves parts of himself — trauma, insecurities, etc. — with his partner, making the bed a representation of the most intimate, private parts of her mind. So while we sympathize with Wood’s character, we see that maybe he has issues of his own.

The album ends with a three-part, 12-minute track titled “Basketball Shoes.” It serves as a fitting conclusion to the album. Wood’s character begins the song discussing healing and returning to normalcy but finishes it with an agonizing scream. While the relationship has ended and Wood attempts to move on, he is still having trouble letting go.

The final line of the album is what made Wood’s sudden departure from the band make sense: “Oh your generous loan to me, your crippling interest.” On the surface, this means that any form of interest from his lover gives Wood false hope. But in the context of his departure, the “crippling interest” comes from the fans. 

The whole album is a metaphor for his toxic relationship with his fans. The more fans he gains, the more expectations he must meet. Through his lyrics, he is leaving his breadcrumbs in our beds: we are the toxic lover. We are the Concorde.



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