If anyone is in the market for a new favourite autumnal album, look no further than Noah Kahan’s third studio album ‘Stick Season.’ Named for the time of year in New England just before the first snow when all the trees are bare, this album is perfect for the cooler weather, changing leaves, and long walks through the woods.
Fans have been awaiting the full album ever since hearing a demo of the song ‘Stick Season’ that was posted on TikTok in October 2020. Reaching millions of views and inspiring covers from the likes of Zach Bryan, and even responses like this one from Maisie Peters.
Moving on from the pop sound of his previous two albums, this is Kahan’s first full embrace of the folk music he was brought up on. Even the album cover feels like a nod to the style of his influences including Cat Stevens and Paul Simon. In an interview with CBS Mornings, Kahan said that this project feels like the music he was always meant to make.
It is also his first time co-producing his own project, which adds a personal touch to the final product. However, the true strength of this album lies in the songwriting. Whilst the album may have been written in Vermont during the pandemic, it is not a pandemic album. Rather, it focuses on themes of home: wanting to leave, coming back after time away, and confronting the things left behind.
Specific songs like ‘Growing Sideways’ tackle mental health and articulate the feeling of being unable to move on, while ‘Homesick’ is more concerned with feeling fed up at home. With lyrics like “I would leave if only I could find a reason” and “I will die in the house that I grew up in,” Kahan demonstrates his cynicism and resentfulness towards the place.
Personal favourites include ‘All My Love,’ ‘Still,’ and ‘Northern Attitude,’ but these change with each listen.
The album closes with ‘The View Between Villages,’ inspired by the drive Kahan takes to get home. The imagery of being between two places perfectly represents this album and Kahan’s concept of home. Home is a place of duality. It’s the place that brings comfort, but it can also push away. Over the course of the album, Kahan explores this duality from a variety of different angles and finally arrives at his destination, acceptance.