Abbie Bobeck ’26
As the air in Claremont turns sharp and cool, and the sun sets a little too early, new music brings us comfort. Although I have been listening to Taylor Swift’s Midnights, and The 1975’s Being Funny in a Foreign Language nonstop, I can’t forget about the emerging artists whose music has brought me joy (or sadness) lately.
While Noah Kahan was no new artist to me, his new album Stick Season has garnered him the popularity he has always deserved. His 2019 songs “Mess” and “Hurt Somebody” were hits among a niche group of folk-pop listeners, with the likes of Adam Melchor, Vance Joy, and The Head And The Heart. Stick Season has reached new audiences, especially thanks to TikTok; there are so many songs on the album that stand out, but the album itself is extremely cohesive. Kahan’s sound is reminiscent of an evening bonfire with your closest friends, particularly in New England, as you get toasty and spill your deepest secrets.
While the lead single “Stick Season” was an early favorite before the album even arrived, there was so much more to discover once the album dropped. The first track on the album, “Northern Attitude,” is what screaming into the wind and letting go of your pain feels like. The song starts off melodic and slow and builds into an epic crescendo of fast-paced bass and drum beats, with Kahan belting his heart out. The song feels extremely personal, like an apology to someone for being who you are. The song’s ending is what cuts me deep, as Kahan belts out the chorus with no music in the background, and we can hear the pain and honesty in his voice shine through.
“She Calls Me Back” also stood out to me because it is one of the more upbeat tracks on the album, and the drum beats and Kahan’s fast-paced singing mesh so well. The chorus is so catchy, I dare you not to sing along.
Kahan’s 12th track “Homesick” was an immediate standout to me, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it. What is so amazing about this track and Kahan in general is how funny and relatable the lyricism is, while also being catchy and effortless. Some of my favorite lyrics on the track include: “The weather ain’t been bad if you’re into masochistic bullshit,” “I’m tired of dirt roads named after high school friends’ grandfathers,” and as someone who has spent a ton of time in Boston, “I’m mean because I grew up in New England” really struck a chord. This track especially displays Kahan’s lyrical genius and his ability to transition folk music into pop hits for everyone to enjoy.
While you might know who Gracie Abrams is already, or just heard about her because she is an opening act for Taylor Swift on tour this summer, her music has grown so much in the past two years. Something I appreciate about Abrams’s music is how raw and vulnerable it is. If you love Phoebe Bridgers and Lizzy McAlpine, Abrams’s music will only add to your sad girl tunes repertoire.
In her latest single “Difficult,” Abrams bears all and pairs her usual gut-wrenching lyrics with a catchy chorus. “Difficult” is all about self-reflection and Abrams’s personal struggles with relationships with others and herself, hence the lyric “I’ve been speaking to my therapist, I call her every weekend.” Taylor Swift’s frequent collaborator Aaron Dessner produced and co-wrote “Difficult” with Abrams, which perhaps is why the song is so incredible.
Another stand-out track from Abrams is her 2021 single “Mess it Up”; another revealing song about Abrams’s deepest insecurities and her failure to keep a relationship with her significant other. “Mess it Up” is a song many of us can relate to, even if we’ve never been in a relationship because everyone knows how it feels to reflect on an incident where you wish you could have changed the way you acted.
Abrams’s 2022 single “Block Me Out” also felt deeply relatable. Another Aaron Dessner collaboration, “Block Me Out” is a song about feeling trapped in anxiety and fearing your past self. With beautifully melancholic lyrics like “After all this time, I should be a pretty crier” and “Until I’m left to myself, it’s honestly kind of funny how every voice in my head is tryin’ its best to haunt me,” Abrams perfectly captures the desire to block out anxiety-ridden thoughts that cloud her mind. “Block Me Out” is the anxiety anthem I’ve always dreamed of crying to.
Another artist who has made their way into my Spotify playlists for the past few months is newcomer quinnie. quinnie went viral on TikTok over the summer for their beautiful song “touch tank,” which portrays a loving and intimate relationship with a male partner using summer motifs. A refreshing love song that focuses on the singer’s pleasure, and female pleasure in general, it was so heartwarming that it immediately blew up on social media when it was released. The bridge includes an extremely vulnerable and clever lyric that astounded me: “You took my breath away so now I can’t suck in my stomach around you anymore,” which alludes to not feeling insecure around their partner because they feel so loved and safe in that relationship. quinnie’s unguarded lyrics and graceful sound form a beautiful message into a soft, transparent track.
This fall, quinnie released their ballad “man,” which they described in a TikTok as “a song about men who will use a facade of softness to convince you they are more harmless than the rest.” The song’s message rings true with the pervasiveness of male manipulators in the music industry and the plethora of male artists being called out for sexual harassment and abuse. “man” has a powerful message and quinnie’s expert lyrism and breathtaking voice lend themselves to an important story of an abusive relationship, and rejecting bad behavior from men in general.
quinnie’s latest drop “itch” is another soft-spoken song worth listening to. “itch” is about the anticipation of kissing your crush and the anxiety that comes with falling for someone. Check it out and hear for yourselves why quinnie is slowly taking over my TikTok feed and my Spotify.
Finding new voices to blast through my headphones is always such a special endeavor. Emerging artists always bring effervescent passion and joy to their work, and it is always cool to discover them before they become mainstream. These are just a few of my favorite underrated artists dropping great songs this fall, and I hope their songs resonate with you, as they did for me.
Image Source: Rolling Stone