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Noah Kahan expands “Stick Season” for a “Forever” finale

Laken Kincaid explains their take on this rereleased Noah Kahan album.

Originally debuting his album “Stick Season (We’ll All Be Here Forever)” in June 2023, Noah Kahan rounded off this award-winning discography with a collection of highly anticipated artist crossovers as well as his new song aptly named “Forever.” Initially gaining traction on platforms like TikTok late last year, this track acts as Kahan’s final goodbye to his “Stick Season” expansion.

As for the fresh renditions of Kahan’s previous works, many of these songs were released rather sporadically up until the full record came out on Feb. 9. The first of these was a new take on the Billboard 100 climber “Dial Drunk,” which was bolstered by extra vocals from pop superstar Post Malone. Less than two months after the song was made available on streaming platforms, Kahan delivered the new mix to fans on July 17, 2023. 

Other singers have since dueted with Kahan on his various works which are all included on “Stick Season (Forever).” This includes power ballad “Call Your Mom,” which now includes blissfully haunting vocals from “Ceilings” artist Lizzy McAlpine, “She Calls Me Back” featuring Kacey Musgraves and, undoubtedly the most popular collaboration of the setlist, “Northern Attitude” with the added flair of Irish indie singer Hozier. Other artists who make appearances on this album include Gracie Abrams, Sam Fender, Brandi Carlisle and Gregory Alan Isakov, all rising names in the music industry.

While these fun projects and collaborative works definitely bolster the already steady tunes that Kahan writes, it would have been nice to get some more original work from him rather than rewrites of his already well-received songs. Yes, each of these singers adds a new line of beauty to the melodies they interact with, but unique tracks would be preferred to hammering down the tried and true.

However, one could argue that Kahan has already made waves with “Stick Season (We’ll All Be Here Forever)” last year and that these external efforts are not all for naught. To craft an album with basically no skips takes time and skill, something that would be devastating to lose to pressure from a label or hungry audience. 

Yes, Kahan could have taken this energy that he put into his new renditions and pushed it towards writing fresh material, but that could destroy the craftsmanship behind every fashioned word and note. If taking some time to work rhythmically within already existing songs is what America’s favorite folk boy needs to inspire his future artistry, so be it. 

Kahan also proved with this rerelease that he is capable of producing unique harmonies rather than simply upcycling his mature ones. The song “Forever” at 4:28 explores multiple keys and tempos throughout its run time solidifying a genre-smashing tune. The instrumental is not the only strong suit of the song as its lyrics also leave a lasting impact. It is impossible to deny the talent behind the words “when forever was a sentence, sentence to death. Oh, when you were a running tear, I was a drop of sweat. And the edges of your soul, I haven’t seen yet. Now I’m glad I get forever to see where you end.”

Could it be easy to be frustrated with Kahan at this moment? Potentially. Yet, it is important to remember that great music takes time to create. Being impatient with artists while they are still actively not only writing new arias but also polishing their previous verses puts a price tag and a deadline on talent. Not only is this unfair and kills technique, but it ultimately destroys the motivation that artists have to tell a story rather than only relay a message. 

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About the Contributor
Laken Kincaid
Laken Kincaid, Editor-in-Chief
Laken Kincaid is the Editor-in-Chief for The Carroll News from Beckley, West Virginia. They are a senior at John Carroll University who is double majoring in political science and communications (digital media) and minoring in leadership development. Laken has written for The Carroll News since the start of their freshman year and has previously served as a staff reporter, campus section editor and managing editor of the paper. They have received 18 Best of SNO awards, a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for Region 4 and two honorable mentions from the College Media Association. They have also been recognized by universities like Georgetown for their investigative reports. Additionally, they also write political satire for The Hilltop Show and feature stories on global poverty for The Borgen Project. In addition to their involvement with The Carroll News, Laken is involved with the Kappa Delta sorority, the speech and debate team, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Improv club and other organizations. They also serve as the news director for WJCU 88.7, John Carroll's own radio station, and as the president for John Carroll's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.  Laken also started their own national nonprofit organization known as Art with the Elderly which they have won the President's Volunteer Service Award and the Humanity Rising Award for. When not writing, Laken can be found doing graphic design for their internship with Union Home Mortgage or working as a resident assistant and peer learning facilitator on campus. Laken also enjoys skiing and watching true crime documentaries. In the future, Laken hopes to become a political journalist for a national news organization or to be a campaign commercial editor for politicians. To contact Laken, email them at [email protected].

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