Single - Noah Kahan & Post Malone - Dial Drunk (Unofficial)
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‘Dial Drunk’ by Noah Kahan & Post Malone - Lyrics & Meaning

July 18, 2023 12:00 am GMT
Last Edited December 19, 2023 10:30 pm GMT

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Noah Kahan & Post Malone - ‘Dial Drunk’

Label: Mercury Records & Republic Records

Release Date: July 17th 2023

Album: Stick Season (We'll All Be Here Forever)

Producer: Noah Kahan & Gabe Simon

Songwriters: Noah Kahan & Noah Levine (Noah In The Open)

The Background:

It's official - Post Malone and the man affectionately dubbed ‘Folk Malone’ have joined forces to deliver a revamped version of Noah Kahan's hit single, ‘Dial Drunk’.

Originally appearing as a solo cut on Kahan's 2023 album, Stick Season (We'll All Be Here Forever), the genre-blending folk maverick began teasing a remix of ‘Dial Drunk’ in early July.

Following a string of cryptic clues and suggestive snippets, Noah Kahan then confirmed he'd be releasing a new rendition of ‘Dial Drunk’ featuring Post Malone on Monday, July 17.

The original Kahan-only version of ‘Dial Drunk’ became the Vermont native's first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, working its way up to a peak of 43. Now that Noah Kahan has recruited the chart titan - and the only artist in history to have eight Diamond-certified singles - Post Malone, ‘Dial Drunk’ feels destined to enjoy a Hot 100 resurgence.

This blockbuster collaboration appears to have arisen as a result of Kahan's loyal fanbase regularly referring to him as ‘Folk Malone’, with Kahan thanking followers on Twitter for giving him the nickname.

Although it's not yet clear who reached out to who, with Noah Kahan and Post Malone both operating in different musical spheres, it seems this light-hearted ‘Folk Malone’ moniker was the catalyst to bring the two modern-day trailblazers together.

The collaboration arrives following widespread speculation as to whether Post Malone will one day venture into country and folk, with the ‘Sunflower’ hitmaker regularly professing his love for the genres.

Although ‘Dial Drunk’ feels decidedly folk-inspired, it nonetheless seems to pave the way for Posty's foray into country-leaning territory. Should he do so, it appears Jelly Roll will be at the front of the queue when it comes to potential country-crossover collaborations.

Despite having already released the deluxe version of Stick Season earlier in the year, this Post Malone-assisted remix of ‘Dial Drunk’ is still considered a part of Noah Kahan's Stick Season era, given the fact that the original rendition was included on the project. Kahan has even repurposed the deluxe album's artwork for the new single.

The Sound:

The solo version of ‘Dial Drunk’, featuring only Noah Kahan, finds the singer-songwriter's raw, emotive vocals skirting across an energising, banjo-led instrumental.

At times, the backing feels noticeably polished and built-out, but at various points throughout ‘Dial Drunk’, Noah Kahan strips back the glossy studio production and zeroes in on the refreshingly folksy feel of the twinkling, jaunty banjo.

The levity of this mirrors the sense of freedom the song's protagonist finds in his drunkenness. Yet this liberation is tainted by the intensity of the main guitar riff, which seems to represent the grim, sobering reality that underpins the tale at the heart of ‘Dial Drunk’.

In the original rendition of ‘Dial Drunk’, Noah Kahan layers his vocals in the chorus to help create a more anthemic feel, but in the new remix, Post Malone's introduction means this layering is replaced with Posty's distinctive, raspy accompanying vocals.

Post Malone always tends to drench his sleek vocals with a subtle delay and reverb effect, which gives his voice an added sense of weight and gravitas. This radiates through his contributions to ‘Dial Drunk’, which include an electrifying new verse.

Post Malone takes on a notably rap-leaning cadence, which brings an extra sense of angst to the heartbroken lyrics. Nonetheless, Post Malone embraces the country-folk ambience of the original ‘Dial Drunk’, particularly on the unrestricted cry he unleashes for the final line of his verse (“It's all the same anyway”).

The Meaning:

‘Dial Drunk’ opens with a broken-hearted man being drunkenly shepherded into a cop car, after being arrested for seemingly getting into a bar fight (“I ain't proud of all the punches that I've thrown / In the name of someone I no longer know”).

Despite confiding in the listener that he'd promised to move on from his past lover's memory, our protagonist immediately reneges on this pledge as - in an act of intoxicated desperation - he gives his ex-girlfriend's number as his emergency contact.

This is clearly a doomed last-ditch attempt to get in touch with her, and Kahan cleverly empathises with the listener as he self-deprecatingly criticises this disastrous decision (“I don't like that when they threw me in the car / I gave your name as my emergency phone call”).

The heart-rending nature of ‘Dial Drunk’ reaches its crescendo when, after hearing the phone ring pleadingly for a couple of minutes, his ex-girlfriend simply ignores the emergency call.

Even the officers that have arrested Kahan feel sorry for him, exacerbating his humiliation (“Honey, it rang and rang / Even the cops thought you were wrong for hangin' up”).

We then reach the pivotal and titular line, as the song's lead character spirals into an abyss of despair and self-pity, which concludes with Kahan admitting defeat in his quest to overcome his heartbreak (“I dial drunk / I'd die a drunk / I'd die for you”).

Post Malone's additional verse once again focuses on the protagonist's thoughts as he sits in the lonely backseat of the police car, painting a vivid picture of his headspace as he leans against the window (“Talking about last time I was in the back of a cop car, I fell in love / My face on the cold window, try to sober up and loosen my cuffs”).

Then, the final line of Posty's verse - “It's all the same anyway” - mirrors the resigned apathy of Noah Kahan's original lyrics (“Am I honest still? Am I half the man I used to be? / I doubt it, forget about it, whatever / It's all the same, anyways”).

Throughout ‘Dial Drunk’, there is a fascinating tension between the protagonist's relentless, self-aware introspection and his alcohol-induced indifference and numbness to his actions.

In the final verse, the police officers are once again given a voice, as they ask our main character questions such as “Son, are you a danger to yourself?” and “Son, are you a danger to yourself?”.

Despite these rationalisations, the protagonist persists obsessively with his requests to phone his ex-girlfriend, no matter what the cost (“I beg you, sir, just let me call / I'll give you my blood alcohol / I'll rot with all the burnouts in the cell / I'll change my faith, I'll praise the flag”).

What has Noah Kahan said about ‘Dial Drunk’?

Speaking about the original version of ‘Dial Drunk’, Noah Kahan underlined that the lyrics are not based on his own life, “I do just want to emphasize that not every song I make is directly about my life experience”.

Kahan went on to stress that he is not aiming to promote or idealise the use of alcohol as a means of easing one's pain through ‘Dial Drunk’, emphasising that the song is “not meant to glorify the behavior as much as tell a story about a desperate burnout clinging onto a relationship”.

For the full lyrics to Noah Kahan and Post Malone's ‘Dial Drunk’ see below:

“I'm rememberin' I promised to forget you now
But it's rainin', and I'm callin' drunk
And my medicine is drownin' your perspective out
So I ain't takin' any fault
Am I honest still? Am I half the man I used to be?
I doubt it, forget about it, whatever
And the dial tone is all I have

I ain't proud of all the punches that I've thrown
In the name of someone I no longer know
For the shame of being young, drunk, and alone
Traffic lights and a transmitter radio
I don't like that when they threw me in the car
I gave your name as my emergency phone call
Honey, it rang and rang, even the cops thought you were wrong for hangin' up
I dial drunk, I'll die a drunk, I'll die for you (I'll die)

Drinks pouring, couldn't stop it
Turning a slow dance into a mosh pit
Tuck my head, then I heard the lock, and
Told them that my first car was a Crown Vic
Talkin' 'bout last time I was in the back of a cop car, I fell in love
And my face on the cold window tried to sober back up and loosen my cuffs
And it's all the same anyway

I ain't proud of all the punches that I've thrown
In the name of someone I no longer know
For the shame of being young, drunk, and alone
Traffic lights and a transmitter radio
I don't like that when they threw me in the car
I gave your name as my emergency phone call
Honey, it rang and rang, even the cops thought you were wrong for hangin' up
I dial drunk, I'll die a drunk, I'd die for you
Well, I'd die for you

I beg you, sir, just let me call
I'll give you my blood alcohol
I'll rot with all the burnouts in the cell
I'll change my faith, I'll praise the flag
Let's wait, I swear she'll call me back
"Son, are you a danger to yourself?"
Fuck that, sir, just let me call
I'll give you my blood alcohol
I'll rot with all the burnouts in the cell
I'll change my faith, I'll kiss the badge
Let's wait, I swear she'll call me back
"Son, why do you do this to yourself?"

And I said,
‘I ain't proud of all the punches that I've thrown
In the name of someone I no longer know (I no longer know)
For the shame of being young, drunk, and alone
Traffic lights and a transmitter radio’
I don't like that when they threw me in the car
I gave your name as my emergency phone call
Honey, it rang and rang, even the cops thought you were wrong for hangin' up
I dial drunk, I'd die a drunk, I'd die for you”

Written by Maxim Mower
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