Music Notes with Maddy: Track 5

An album that pinpoints nostalgia through relatable and humbling lyrics.

Maddy Bergey, Editor

Week five of this series is going to entail one of my favorite albums of last year: Stick Season. Inevitably, this album was probably on a lot of people’s lists considering its popularity on social media. This 14-track album is by Vermont-native Noah Kahan. Overall, this album evokes many feelings within listeners due to the nostalgia and simultaneous relatability.

It starts with “Northern Attitude,” which is a quite complex song, as it creates a large metaphor. Kahan’s lyrics relate a cold, dark season to a closed heart. It encapsulates the fearful feelings of committing to a relationship, despite simultaneously fearing isolation. The clarity that can follow one’s solitude and loneliness is something that ultimately is able to heal one’s inner child. Personally, this track is one of my favorites due to both the upbeat yet resonant nature of the lyrics because not only does it ask questions, but it also provokes certain ponder-worthy questions.

The most-played song by Noah Kahan—“Stick Season”—comes next on the album. This song is a reflection of a very specific feeling in Vermont when all the lush greenery is gone, and only brown remnants remain. Despite it being written about New England, its lyrics have actually proven to resonate with people from various locations. Overall, this song also touches on various paradoxes of what one may experience throughout their lifetime; for example, one is noted through the lyrics “and I / Saw your mom / She forgot that I existed,” which speaks to the realization that despite the meaning you might attach to someone important in your life, they may have completely forgotten about your existence.

All My Love” is the next song on the album. It speaks to a bittersweet moment in time when a relationship has ended, the ex-lover has moved away, and the other partner is simply reminiscing on times when the partnership was still flourishing. Despite the abundance of bitter breakup songs currently in the world, Noah Kahan looks at this time in one’s life as a beautifully reflective time, rather than a period of performative pettiness. I feel these lyrics are so refreshing, as they offer listeners peace about a relationship that has unwound itself, though perhaps for the best.

A few songs later comes “Everywhere, Everything,” which I think is the best one to belt! Both life and a feeling’s temporary nature are discussed in this song, as the lyrics say “I wanna love you ’til we’re food for the worms to eat.” Clearly, this suggests our tangible bodies only have a limited amount of time earthside; thus, these lyrics encourage listeners to find beauty in the small triumphs, moments, and people in our life before we end up decomposing in the ground. To me, this feels like a valuable reminder that thousands of years from now, no part of my physical body will remain.

To continue on the album’s main tether to deep, complex feelings, “Growing Sideways” is another song on Stick Season. Despite being just over four minutes long, the song’s lyrics are quickly able to convey a wide range of deep emotions—to grief, heartbreak, and trauma to growth, self-reflection, and acceptance. One of my favorite lyrics on the album occurs in this song: “Oh, if my engine works perfect on empty / I guess I’ll drive.” Demonstrating the sad reality of feeling empty, numb, and disassociated yet still being expected to continue through the motions of life, these lyrics seem to resonate with myself and other listeners a little too often.

Though this album may be heavy at times, Noah Kahan was able to find the perfect balance of folky instrumentals and upbeat rhythms in order to help listeners have the perfect album to either cry to, scream to, dance to, or all of the above!