‘No Complaints’ about ‘Stick Season (We’ll All Be Here Forever)’
Allison Srp | Tuesday, September 5, 2023
“Stick Season (We’ll All Be Here Forever)” is the extended version of Noah Kahan’s album “Stick Season” and was released on June 9. While the original album closes with Kahan in a place of tension between the past and the present, these new songs feature him delving back into the past until the extended version of the original closing track, “The View Between Villages,” brings us back to that place of not moving forward yet, but being ready to.
“Your Needs, My Needs” is the first new song. It starts as a simple acoustic track about the impact that someone had on him — so much impact that he finds himself “naming the stars in the sky after [them].” As the song progresses, though, he begins to express resentment about how fully this person shaped his life — with their needs overpowering his own.
“Dial Drunk” is the most popular of the new songs and now has a version featuring Post Malone on a rewritten second verse. Here, Kahan’s resentment shifts inward. He sings a litany of his missteps, centered around a drunk phone call that goes unanswered. At the end of the song, he restates “I’ll die for you.” He may not like what he did, but it doesn’t seem that this person will be less important to him anytime soon.
Paul Revere is known for his journey to warn others about impending danger, but in the song “Paul Revere,” Kahan’s journey is for himself as he dreams about leaving the small town that he can no longer stand. As much as this town and its inhabitants frustrate Kahan, by the end of the song he finds himself too tied to knowing and being known by it that he can’t leave.
“No Complaints” discusses a common fear of your problems not being bad enough to warrant your reaction to them. He describes heart-wrenching struggles and his efforts to overcome them, ending the list every time with “Who am I to complain?” This song offers a glimpse of hope, but the journey it describes is one that’s still in progress.
“Call Your Mom” is arguably the most heartbreaking of the new songs, which is no small feat. He sings about trying to convince someone to “stay with [him]” in every way he can. In the bridge, he begs them to somehow find enough meaning to stay in the world, whatever that might be from.
“You’re Gonna Go Far” seems to invite comparison to “New Perspective” from the original album. In the latter, Kahan sings about resentment both toward someone who left their hometown and toward that hometown itself. The newer track addresses the same loss, but with grief and pride instead of resentment. The lyrics point to acceptance of the fact that these two people are now living irrevocably different lives, but also that there will always be connection and love between them. “Call Your Mom” may be sadder in theme, but this song is the one that had me near tears.
The album closes with an extended edition of its original closing track. At the end, he adds the voices of people speaking about life in a small town — the same thing he spends the album singing about. These voices are more optimistic toward it than Kahan’s tends to be, but it offers an important sense of balance. He doesn’t hate this place; after all, he wrote a 21-song tribute to it. The new verse at the end returns to the note that the original album ended on: returning home and reminiscing on the past.
Album: “Stick Season (We’ll All Be Here Forever)”
Favorite songs: “Dial Drunk,” “Call Your Mom,” “You’re Gonna Go Far”
Similar artists: Mumford & Sons, Lizzy McAlpine, The Lumineers
Shamrocks: 5 out of 5