Singer-songwriter Noah Kahan released his third album, titled Stick Season, on October 14, 2022. More recently, on June 9th, he released a deluxe edition of the album titled, Stick Season (We’ll All Be Here Forever). I had no idea what to expect going into this album. Perhaps some acoustic guitars and somber singing about exes and hometowns. Instead, I listened to a masterful storyteller tell a gripping new chapter with every track.
I noticed immediately during the intro track “Northern Attitude” that through Noah Kahan’s songwriting and production he evokes a feeling of nostalgia and relatability with his songs. The nostalgia wraps through his soft singing and acoustic guitar like walking into a warm house in the harsh cold of winter.
“Still” is a chilling song that conveys the perspective of someone who has passed away looking down over everyone their passing has affected. The idea of mortality and the fear of it or lack thereof is something that perplexes everybody. Which really sticks to the theme that these stories that Noah writes are authentically his but the feelings he describes are universally felt.
“Growing Sideways” really connected and stuck with me upon repeat listening. To me, it conveys the feeling of dealing with the effects of trauma and mental illness and always pushing through even when it feels like you have nothing left in the tank. Noah Kahan conveys this precisely with,
“‘Cause everyone’s growing and everyone’s healthy
I’m terrified that I might have never met me
Oh, if my engine works perfect on empty
I guess I’ll drive”
The deluxe edition of the album features six previously unreleased tracks. One of the standouts is “Dial Drunk”. This song expresses a feeling of looking back at the sacrifices you made for someone, while frustrating, you would not change a thing. He describes this beautifully with “I ain't proud of all the punches that I've thrown in the name of someone I no longer know (I no longer know.)” He then concludes with “I dial drunk, I'll die a drunk, I'd die for you.”
“The View Between Villages” was already a fitting finale to a beautiful album, and the extended version included on the deluxe edition of Stick Season adds a massive and rewarding finale featuring a full band performance. A truly grand reward for listening to a bolstering twenty tracks.
Every track throughout Stick Season (We’ll All Be Here Forever) feels relatable in a way that everyone has felt the emotions that Noah expresses with his storytelling. The title track perhaps brings you back to a relationship that ended and you felt betrayed or lied to or not enough. Songs like “All My Love” and “Halloween” seem to convey the idea of loving the memories you have shared with someone but finding solace and peace with its conclusion.
To be clear, I do not believe Stick Season (We'll All Be Here Forever) is a sad album. At first, that was my logical conclusion because it made me emotional, it made me feel sad. Through further listening I came to the conclusion that Noah Kahan is a storyteller. He writes stories and what those stories make you feel is completely up to your interpretation and the emotions they evoke. There are songs on this album where I am not completely sure of the idea he is trying to convey, but they bring me to places and memories from years past and make me feel something. A rare gift. If you want to feel, this album is for you.