Noah Kahan’s third studio album “Stick Season” captured the hearts of listeners as 2022’s poster album for nostalgia and small-town life. The album’s 14 tracks vary both in tempo and subject matter, oscillating between themes of sobriety, homesickness and an intense dislike for Northern weather.
The first song on the album, “Northern Attitude,” is heavily indicative of the rest of the album’s themes. It begins with an intricate and simple guitar solo. At the beginning of the chorus, Kahan belts, “If I get too close / And I’m not how you hoped / Forgive my northern attitude / Oh, I was raised out in the cold.”
“Stick Season,” which doubles as the album’s title, is the second song on the album and, arguably, the fan favorite. Despite an upbeat tempo, the song contains discussions around mental illness, relationship issues and navigating one’s relationship to alcohol. In the second verse, Kahan sings, “So I thought that if I piled something good on all my bad / That I could cancel out the darkness I inherited from dad.” The simple rhymes, intricate rhythms and unique lyrics of “Stick Season” are what make it so popular.
The album’s third track, “All My Love,” almost solely revolves around relationships. At times, the song feels like a conversation between two people. Keeping with the anti-cold weather theme, “All My Love” features lyrics such as “No winter coat could keep out all the cold of your atmosphere.” Kahan’s ability to overlap different themes and weave them together to get the desired effect is part of what makes his music so popular. The tempo of “All My Love” is fast, and Kahan sings louder and more intensely during the chorus.
“Orange Juice,” the eighth track on the album, is calming and filled with hope. It is mellow at the beginning, but increases tempo and intensity quickly. It heavily revolves around the sobriety of one of the narrator’s friends. The song begins with Kahan singing, “Honey, come over / The party’s gone slower / And no one will tempt you / We know you got sober / There’s orange juice in the kitchen.” It conveys the necessity of true, meaningful friendship and the understanding that comes with it. Kahan’s versatility in both content matter and rhythm allow him to warp songs in ways that convey the most meaning.
One of the more popular songs towards the end of the album is “Homesick.” Despite the nostalgia-filled title, Kahan spends most of the song berating his hometown’s poor qualities. Keeping with themes of Northern weather, Kahan sings “The weather ain’t been bad / if you’re into masochistic bullshit.” These bits of humor are sprinkled throughout the album and are especially beloved by those who live in colder climates. Another line related to those who live in cold climates is, “I’m mean because I grew up in New England.” It’s these kinds of witty, niche lines that fans enjoy so much.
Noah Kahan’s “Stick Season” is available to be listened to on streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. More information about his music and tour can be found at https://noahkahan.com/#/.