Playlist: Autumn is Here

Fall in New England. Photo courtesy of Reenie-Just Reenie/Flickr Creative Commons

By Sarah Jorgensen

I’m from New England, and autumn has always been one of my favorite times of the year. There’s nothing quite like feeling a chill in the air and looking forward to Thanksgiving break (and eventually Christmas!).  However, with few falling leaves or changes in the weather here in San Diego, I have to capture the fall spirit in other ways, like through music. This is my playlist to encapsulate the feeling of fall…even when you may be hitting the beach later this weekend.

“Bedouin Dress” by Fleet Foxes: Nothing makes me think of fall more than folk music. “Bedouin Dress,” the second song Fleet Foxes’ most recent album, the brilliant Helplessness Blues, makes me feel like I could snuggle up in a blanket and listen to that beautiful vocal harmony all day long. I think it’s the fiddle, too.

“I Gave You All” by Mumford & Sons: The entire Sigh No More album could be on this playlist, but “I Gave You All” perfectly captures the melancholy that cloudy New England fall days can bring. It’s the kind of song that makes me want to sit down and write poetry all day while watching the rain outside.

“A Lion’s Heart” by Tallest Man on Earth:  The themes of “folk” and “melancholy” are encapsulated perfectly by Tallest Man on Earth’s Bob Dylan-esque croon and finger-picked acoustic guitar. Pay special attention to the lyrics – as in most songs by Tallest Man on Earth, they’re beautifully sad.

“Shadows” by Warpaint: Though we’re moving into the post-Halloween era, I still think that something about the fall is constantly eerie. Warpaint is one of the most haunting bands I know, and “Shadows” in particular sends chills down my spine every time I hear it.

“Terrible Love” by The National: This stunning cut by one of my all-time favorite bands is straight up eerie. The song begins in a docile manner, with basic guitars and keys and repeated lyrics, but builds into an explosion of drumbeats and distorted guitars and haughty vocal harmony.

“On Tour” by Kurt Vile:  Kurt Vile’s hazy, lo-fi tone is perfect for the fall. “On Tour,” with its sad guitar and lyrics that meditate on loneliness, encapsulates the destitute feeling that can come between Halloween and Thanksgiving (more extreme when there are no leaves left on the trees, as in New England).

“The Trapeze Swinger” by Iron and Wine: Oh, you know that you saw Iron and Wine coming for this list. I can’t think of a much more haunting, beautiful song than “The Trapeze Swinger.” With its gorgeous melody and repetition, it’s the most melancholy lullaby you’ve ever heard.

“9 Crimes” by Damien Rice: I’m a huge sucker for piano in any song. This simply stunning piano-driven duet is so eerily poignant – just wait for the moment when the violin comes in midway through the song.

“Skinny Love” by Bon Iver: There is a video on YouTube (that you can watch here) of Bon Iver playing this song live in a bar in Paris, and for some reason, the image of that warm bar stays with me whenever I hear this song. I find fall to be a very romantic time too, and this song is somehow one of the most dreamy I’ve ever heard.