There is a reason why Noah Kahan has “All My Love” with his newest work, Stick Season, a folk/alternative album that has been my and so many others’ soundtrack of the fall.
The recent expansion of his audience and love for the new album gave Kahan’s heart-strung tracks consistent homes at the tops of billboards and sold-out tours. With all this, it is no coincidence that Kahan is “young and living dreams.”
Kahan is an alt-pop American singer-songwriter from Strafford, Vermont. If you don’t recognize him by name, you have most likely heard his 2017 duet with Julia Michaels entitled “Hurt Somebody” or his recent hit and title song for his new album, “Stick Season.”
There is much to love about the fan-acclaimed Folk Malone. Kahan’s use of musical composition combining typical folk instruments with a pop tone is enough to discuss on its own.
But, what I believe makes his music so versatile and admired is how it speaks directly to the universal experiences of young adulthood. Kahan touches on thoughts we all have but often don’t share as we grow into adult versions of ourselves. His lyrics help us recognize our faults and flaws and reflect on our relationships with ourselves and others.
Due to my love for his music, I’m breaking down some of my favourite lyrics from Stick Season and sharing how they relate to the “adulting” experience.
- “Dial Drunk” – “I ain’t proud of all the punches that I’ve thrown/in the name of someone I no longer know.”
“Dial Drunk” tells the universal story of desperately holding onto a person from your past.
Although the song directly relates to a romantic relationship within its narrative, Kahan’s lyrics can be projected to any relationship one may have lost. By our 20s, we have all been through some sort of loss, which we may look back and realize was not the best for us.
- “All My Love” – “Now I know your name, but not who you are/It’s all okay/There ain’t a drop of bad blood, it’s all my love.”
This is one of my favourite songs and lyrics to be written! “All My Love” speaks to your love for someone who has left your life.
Outside of the romantic intention of the song, this lyric is universal to one of the painful truths you find in your 20s. Some people and relationships once significant to your life no longer hold the same value.
This line talks about the feeling of love that comes from loss, being grateful for what you had and that you still care for them regardless of the end of your relationship.
- “She Calls Me Back” – “Why am I so obsessive?/Hanging on to every sentence?”
In “She Calls Me Back,” Kahan sings about the utopic feeling of being in love with someone and calls out the obsessive nature of love.
This lyric can be perfectly applied to the inner dialogue we have all felt falling for someone uncontrollably. There is also insecurity present in this lyric that speaks to the experience of falling hard for someone while unsure of how they feel about you. It evokes the feeling of replaying every sentence and moment you shared with them in your head and over-analyzing.
- “No Complaints” – “Yes, I’m young and living dreams/In love with being noticed/and afraid of being seen.”
The final lyric I wanted to break down is from the song “No Complaints.”
I feel it touches on the human desire to be loved and given attention while battling the fear of actually being seen for who we are. It’s normal to crave connection and recognition, but we fear that if anyone paid attention to us long enough and actually knew who we were, they wouldn’t like it.
This lyric describes a place we get stuck in as we live out the so-called “best years” of our lives. However, for some of us, we fear being judged for our mistakes and flaws regardless of how they shape us.
Although Noah Kahan’s Stick Season follows a recurring theme of romantic connection, what I love about his lyrics is that each song is made so authentically that it speaks to emotion rather than specific situations. It calls out the way we feel, regardless of the relationship we encounter.
The work consists of insecurities, uncomfortable growth and painful truths we begin to face in our 20s on the path to adulthood. His music often speaks to themes of mental health and self-identity. Although almost every song can make you cry, it’s not all because of the mood they generate but because of how truthful his words are. Something so personal is now being spoken back to you, so those emotions and thoughts can feel validated and give you comfort in knowing you are not alone.
Having attended Kahan’s recent We’ll All Be Here Forever tour at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto, I cannot give enough justice to explain the communal energy that Kahan brought with his presence and the reciprocation from his devoted audience.
If you want to get your own Noah Kahan concert experience, he is coming to Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena in April 2024. But be forewarned, tickets are limited and quite pricey on Ticketmaster!
If you can’t get tickets within your budget, join me in living out the beloved album and spice up your fall with some main character moments.