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News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

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News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

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The Noah Kahan Phenomenon

It’s that time of the year. It’s time to sit back, relax, and listen to Noah Kahan’s album “Stick Season (Forever).” And by that time of the year, I mean year-round, because Kahan’s lyrical genius will have you hooked. 

Kahan’s popularity has continued to grow as people across the globe resonate with his music. Growing up in Strafford, Vt. Kahan is an East Coaster at heart, hence his many references to Vermont, Maine, and other well-known states inside New England. 

At 27 years old, Kahan has managed to rack up 37.9 million listeners every month, according to the streaming service Spotify.

Kahan’s journey began in July 2022, when his hit single “Stick Season” quickly rose to the top charts. That October, Kahan released his full 14-track album titled “Stick Season.” As his album increased in popularity, Kahan decided to release an extended version. In June 2023, he announced the release of the deluxe album “Stick Season (We’ll All Be Here Forever),” featuring 21 total tracks.

The people wanted more. In February 2024, Kahan released his final version of the album, now including a total of 30 songs. The album is titled “Stick Season (Forever)” and consists of eight total collaborations, each featuring a unique artist ranging from the popular country singer, Kacey Musgraves, to the Irish artist Hozier’s emotional vocals. Finally, Kahan decided to add a new song to the album, which he titled “Forever,” concluding the two-year adventure that was this collection. 

“This album has been such a special and beautiful world to live in, that the idea of coming up with what’s next is kind of scary for me,” Kahan said in an interview with The New York Times.

Kahan’s album can arguably be split up into five categories based on the sensitive topics that Kahan tackles in his songs. They include loss, uncertainty, addiction, relationships, and mental health struggles. 

Loss is a common theme in many of the songs, but most prominently in Kahan’s lyrics. The track titled “Northern Attitude” is a brilliant introduction to the album. Kahan sings about his fears of a relationship ending and he attributes his negative outlook to being raised in the cold, causing him to isolate his feelings. “You’re Gonna Go Far,” discusses how Kahan is supportive of his friend leaving their life behind for something better, Brandi Carlile dueting with Kahan in their re-record. All these losses are personal, Kahan expressing his feelings about loved one’s leaving. 

Uncertainty Arguably Kahan’s most popular song and one that exemplifies uncertainty is “Stick Season.” It is about being left behind, feeling out of place, and then being found again. The phrase “stick season” is common in New England, described as “this really miserable time of year when it’s just kind of gray and cold, and there’s no snow yet, and the beauty of the foliage is done,” Kahan said in an interview with Genius, the lyric analysis website. 

Tam junior, and huge Noah Kahan fan, Scarlett Wilson was uncertain about her favorite song from the album, yet one stood out to her. 

One of my favorite songs is ‘New Perspective’ just because I really like the vibe and the beat and the lyrics, I just find them really interesting,” Wilson said.

 “New Perspective” describes Kahan’s emotions of being uncertain about his life and selfishly wanting to bring other people down with him. 

“The View Between Villages” is one of my favorites and in Kahan’s extended version of the song we can hear the voices of Hazel Lewis and Melvin Coburn, residents of Strafford, Vt.  as Kahan sings about being caught between different stages of life. This intricate detail adds so much emotion to the song and shows Kahan’s soft side for his hometown, a sentiment carried throughout the whole album. 

Kahan also sings about addiction, mostly to alcohol. On stage at Lollapalooza, a four-day music festival in Chicago, Kahan expressed heartfully, as seen in the University of Illinois’ student-run paper The Daily Illini, “Anyone struggling with alcohol, I hope you get through it. I hear you, I see you,” as he introduced his song “Orange Juice.” 

“Orange Juice” may be my favorite on the album due to its somber tone and deeply meaningful lyrics. Kahan wrote this song to honor the memory of his friends who were in a tragic drunk driving incident, singing it to the driver who survived.

It seems that the topic of most songs is love or relationships, and Kahan’s songs are no exception. “She Calls Me Back” is the fourth song on the album and Kahan sings about wanting a relationship to be rekindled, but ultimately, they aren’t meant to be together. The album also includes a collaboration of this song with Kacey Musgraves creating her own verse as a response to the lyrics. “You love me, and I don’t know why / I only call you once a week,” Musgraves sings. This song’s tone of desperation makes it one of my favorites on the album. 

Kahan openly talks about his mental health struggles and this song perfectly describes his feelings. The track “Call Your Mom” refers to Kahan helping a friend through their emotional endeavors, instilling in Kahan’s audience a sense of community through solidarity. Kahan sings “Call Your Mom” with Lizzy McAlpine as well. 

In “Forever,” the final song on Kahan’s album, he sings, “And I’m glad I get forever to see where you went / I won’t be alone for the rest of my life.” Kahan’s message behind the song is deeply touching. 

“The word ‘forever’ used to terrify me. I hate finality, there is too much uncertainty and boredom affiliated with ‘the rest of time.’ Now though, I’ve found forever to mean there is a limitless possibility,” Kahan said in an interview with the online music magazine Holler. 

Wilson took time to reflect on what Kahan’s music meant to her.

It kind of reached a place in my heart where it really makes me feel at home and reminds me of my family,” Wilson said. 


Listen to Kahan’s album here: Stick Season (Forever)

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