For those who don’t know, for the past several months, I have been working on a political campaign. In other words, my life was not my own, the hours were crazy, and I simply could not keep up with Climate Culture. I’m happy to get back to you now with the biggest drops since we last checked in!
It’s been a big couple months in pop culture — Twitter is dying, the trailer for the Avatar sequel came out, and Taylor Swift released a new album, announced a tour, and made everyone hate Ticketmaster even more than they already did. Among all the happenings, though, I have one recommendation that stands out… Listen to Stick Season by Noah Kahan.
Stick Season is, first and foremost, an album about place. What does it mean to call a place home? How does that place influence your future? And specifically — what are the answers to these questions if you grew up in small-town New England?
Now, I may not technically be from New England, but the Adirondacks count… don’t fight me on this — we’re fundamentally different from the rest of New York :). So, this album hit especially close to home. And that’s the beauty of it. For anyone who grew up in the rural Northeast, the album is instantly recognizable. The instruments sound like home; they’re what we grew up singing and dancing to. The lyrics could have been ripped from our diaries (if we were all as eloquent as Noah Kahan). No matter where we are in the world now, Stick Season is there for us. Truly, every single one of my friends from New England who’s moved away has talked to me about how much they are listening to this album, and how much it means to them. Stick Season is a vibe, an experience, a cohesive documentation of a shared place.
It’s an album that knows where it comes from. In fact, the whole album is named for a season unique to the Northeast… “Stick season” is a clever term for that dreary November time when all the leaves are gone, but it’s not yet winter. It’s probably raining, though maybe it’s spitting sleet or snow. You won’t be able to remember the last time you saw a color other than grey. It looks a bit like this.
On the album, you’ll hear Noah Kahan sing about the climate that made him who he is on songs like Northern Attitude.
“If I get too close
and I’m not how you hoped
forgive my northern attitude
Oh, I was raised out in the cold.”
You’ll also hear about the people forged from these places. There’s the alcoholism on “Orange Juice.” There’s the love/hate relationship with this place on “Homesick” (“I would leave if only I could find a reason”). There’s the stubborn work ethic on “Growing Sideways” (“if my engine works perfect on empty/ I guess I’ll drive) may just be my favorite line.
What Stick Season leaves me wondering is, if we’ve built our lives around a place, and he climate crisis is making that place that we once knew unrecognizable, where does that leave us?
And that’s why it is a climate album. Behind all the kilowatt hours and tax credits, this is the real fundamental question that we have to answer as people living through climate collapse. When you listen to an album like Stick Season, written by someone with such a profound sense of place, it doesn’t feel like a stretch at all to say that as the climate changes, it will change who we are as people. That’s what scares me most.
What gives me hope is the response to this album. It’s blown up on TikTok, and my Instagram feed, and my car speakers. There are a LOT of people who feel connected to a place, New England or otherwise, who connect with this album. In my experience, people who know and love a place intimately are the far most likely to be climate activists. We understand just how much we rely on a place, and we’re up to fighting for it. So cue up Stick Season, and then start fighting to keep this much maligned season around 🙂