‘Ants From Up There’ by Black Country, New Road is my favorite album of all time. I’ve had a whole lot of doubts as to whether that is truly the case, but at the end of the day…this is it. This album is beyond incredible, it is exquisite, absolutely gorgeous, sprawling and overflowing with passion and emotion. And at the same time, it is imperfect. But the way that this imperfection is handled within this album is itself nearly flawless…because to me, this absolute masterpiece feels so very human. But even more so, the way this album just is has ultimately reminded me of not just being human, but myself.
I have a personal connection to this album that even I can hardly put into words, let alone really explain. Pretty much all I do know about this is that from the sonics to the lyrics, ‘Ants From Up There’ is in a way a representation of me, namely my mind and how it works—which is expressed to the greatest extent in the penultimate track, “Snow Globes.” I don’t expect this to be easily understood. Not even I do completely. But it’s true. And it’s potentially the main reason this album is my favorite one ever, new as it is, even when there are quite possibly albums even better than it in my own opinion in terms of sheer technical quality.
In my past reviews of ‘Ants From Up There', I went track by track, giving my analysis of the entire album, but I’ve concluded that doing that doesn’t feel right anymore for me for this album in question. So instead, I will share only what I think is necessary in direct reference to the contents of the album itself, and that will be enough.
This is an album that utterly captivates me from start to finish, from its very first to its very last moment. As a whole, it falls nothing short of grand; most songs reach great climaxes, and the few exceptions nevertheless hold their own with a different sort of majesty. In tone it ranges from lighthearted to dead serious. And the emotions that I repeatedly experience listening to it over the course of multiple tracks have a magnitude that all other top however-many albums of mine reach far, far more sparingly, usually even comparatively much less if not at all. There’s no other album that I finish listening to and almost every single time am left in such a deeply emotionally affected state—which I mean in a very good way!
Like I said, I will not force myself to go through every track and write about it, but there is something that I absolutely must mention. I’m talking about the second half of the album, which is easily the most amazing three-track run that I’ve ever heard in music. “The Place Where He Inserted the Blade” is one of the few songs to have ever made me straight-up sob. “Snow Globes” is my favorite song of all time. And to call “Basketball Shoes” a phenomenal closer is to me an absolutely massive understatement.
And…I think that’s all I have to say in depth without forcing words together. Seriously. I will not try to ramble on when I already know this album goes beyond the limitations of reviewing music.
‘Ants From Up There’ will have a place in my heart for the rest of my life.
Thank you, Black Country, New Road.
|8||The Place Where He Inserted the Blade / 100|
|9||Snow Globes / 100|
|10||Basketball Shoes / 100|
Great review though :)
Much respect for the separation of favorite and best, and acknowledgement of subjectivity