The mornings are crisp, leaves scatter the ground and suddenly curling up inside a soft blanket seems more appealing than ever — fall is around the corner. But as the last wisps of summer fade, we may scramble to hold on to the warmth lingering in the air. This playlist can provide some companionship for those dreading the descent into stress or melancholy and reinforce the sense of uncertainty and optimism that comes with the changing seasons. Listen to the songs in order for a slow journey through various fall feelings or hit shuffle for a whirlwind of emotion.
“Cloud 9,” Jamiroquai
Summer may officially be over, but don’t let that stop you from fully living out your last moments in the sun. Jamiroquai’s signature bright ’70s disco beat, coupled with the “head in the clouds” motif of the song, encapsulates the feeling of denial that many go through during the strange limbo between summer and fall. Nothing like acid jazz to whisk you back into the arms of summertime. Blast this song to mask the crunching of dry leaves under your shoes — if you can’t hear them, they’re not there.
“Little Dark Age,” MGMT
Naturally, the onslaught of colder weather, the unyielding pressure of classes and the sight of pretty trees soon on the brink of death could make someone feel quite conflicted about whether fall is a season they can truly find enjoyment in. The brooding ’80s synth of MGMT’s goth phase is basically the theme song for the dumps of fall. “Little Dark Age” evokes the same jolting, anxious feelings of a bad trip, a cavernous and heavy experience. Fall unfortunately isn’t all pumpkin spice lattes and admiring the vivid colors of the trees, and MGMT helps make this a sobering reality for those interested in living in it.
“40 Days,” Slowdive
Moody royalty Slowdive have penned the perfect song to listen to while staring out the window at the rain. Singer Neil Halstead’s somber, droning voice, complemented by the cascading shoegaze riffs, adds a bit of magic to the new chill in the air and the increasingly wet streets. The rich sonic fills and lyrical reminiscence of past sweet moments transport your mind to a fairy-tale world where you’re shielded from the gloom around you.
“How Soon Is Now?” The Smiths
The unsettling wails and soulful delivery from Morrissey juxtapose the dreamy yet desolate character of fall. The jarring nature of the wavering guitar, stabilized precariously by the chugging beat, reinforces the air of angst draped over the song with its volatile structure. “How Soon Is Now?” represents sufferance, teetering on a descent back into the qualms of the season. The sun sets much too early and your shoes always seem to get soggy, making it difficult not to feel frustrated and desperate for a respite.
“My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion,” The Flaming Lips
“My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion” initially comes across as a song of despair, with lead singer Wayne Coyne mockingly singing, “Autumn’s a coming and soon everything around us will die.” But the song instead turns this nihilist notion that accompanies fall on its head. The electronic trilling and mellow synth progressions give way to a fuzz-drenched guitar that will yank any downtrodden soul out of the gutter. Coyne and crew cater to the determination of some to transform a season seemingly barren of any uplifting emotions into a cozy, wholesome part of the year.
“Winning Days,” The Vines
As the cooler temperatures become second nature and sweaters regularly cycle through wardrobes, fall becomes a way of life. Fittingly, “Winning Days” is a song about moving on from the past and looking forward to what the future holds. It may seem like the best days are long gone, but they’ll come right back around in a few months. The Vines spin a tale of necessary complacency marked by a newfound sense of hope, urging one to “get up and go outside/ It can help your mind too.” And after all, isn’t embracing the changing world around us the real essence of fall?