Everyone has got Summer Jamz but what about Fall Songs?
Here are mine.
Some reference autumn explicitly; others just make me feel it deep inside like bourbon and cider.
This is the soundtrack to which leaves fall and the air cools.
Enjoy it because it doesn’t last long.
Autumn Sweater – Yo La Tengo
“We could slip away,
Wouldn’t that be better
Me with nothing to say,
And you in your autumn sweater”
This is the song that more or less inspired this list. It makes me feel Fall-ish even when it isn’t fall.
Prior to hearing it, I didn’t even think of Fall as a musical motif. Now it seems obvious.
The album on which this song appears – I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One – is also an indie rock staple. The whole haunting masterpiece is worth a listen.
No Name #3 – Elliot Smith
“Watched the dying day
Blushing in the sky
Everyone is uptight
So, come on, night”
Elliot Smith was a genius and so many of his songs give me something to feel even if I don’t know what it is.
No Name #3 makes me feel fall. It was part of the legendary Good Will Hunting soundtrack. It actually played over the iconic “Do you like apples?” scene.
Incidentally, I’ve been looking up fall movies and Good Will Hunting appears on a lot of those lists. It is (almost subtly) an excellent fall movie, set in New England with multiple stops on college campuses.
Regardless, Elliot Smith’s entire catalog makes for good fall listening. But this song in particular.
And if I were making a winter playlist you can bet your ass “Angel In the Snow” would be on it.
Song For the Dead – Sea Wolf
“You’ll move like a tiger
Into the thicket
Claws in the dirt
You’ll sing like a cricket”
Some of my favorite lyrics right there and there’s plenty more where that came from. This song is rife with eery imagery and dark allusions. It’s also another case where I really would recommend the entire album (Leaves In The River).
On it, you’ll find two other songs I considered putting on this list – “Black Leaf Falls” and “Leaves in the River“. I find them both strangely enchanting and the latter is about getting drunk and meeting a mysterious girl on Halloween.
Choctaw Hayride – Allison Krauss + Union Station
I listen to a lot of folk and bluegrass music in the fall – often while drinking bourbon or Octoberfest beers. What better time could there possibly be for hayrides and hoedowns?
There are no lyrics in the song it just makes me feel like I was literally raised in a barn full of hay bales.
Satin In a Coffin – Modest Mouse
“Are you dead or are you sleeping?
God, I sure hope you are dead”
I put Modest Mouse on my Halloween playlist a few years back. This song is creepy for many of the same reasons “Devil’s Workday” is. Isaac Brock’s voice and banjo accompaniment makes for a disquieting sound.
And yes Good News For People Who Love Bad News is a boss album.
Bonus lyrics from “World at Large”:
“The days get shorter and the nights get cold
I like the autumn but this place is getting old”
November – Tom Waits
“It only believes
In a pile of dead leaves
And a moon
That’s the color of bone”
Yeah. That’s the stuff. That’s the creepy, gravelly-voiced guy who narrates my fucking nightmares.
Give me another hit…
“November has tied me
To an old dead tree
Get word to April
To rescue me
November’s cold chain”
Mmm yeah. One more for the road…
“Made of wet boots and rain
And shiny black ravens
On chimney smoke lanes
November seems odd
You’re my firing squad”
Love you Tom Waits.
Moondance – Van Morrison
“A fantabulous night to make romance
‘Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow”
Here’s a random fact about me: I don’t like songs that are explicitly about sex.
I don’t consider myself especially prudish, I just don’t love hearing people sing about fucking. Not explicitly anyway. You can sing about it if you want but at least have the courtesy to couch it in a metaphor or innuendo or something.
This song is explicitly about sex. So it skeeves me out a bit. Still, I can find a way to appreciate it in the fall because it manages to capture all the smoothness and tempered excitement of the season.
I feel like fall is more romantic than it is sexy. It’s not the bikini block party summer is. It cools things down. Its flirtations and liaisons are more subdued.
I think Van Morrison captures that with this song.
Autumn Leaves – Edith Piaf (From Koye)
“C’est une chanson, qui nous ressemble
Toi tu m’aimais et je t’aimais”
In writing this post, I listened to more than a few versions of this song, including those by Miles Davis, Nat King Cole, and Eric Clapton (Speaking of which, when we get a minute can we please talk about this picture of Eric Clapton.) But this one was by far my favorite.
Phantom of the Opera Overture (From Brittany)
Yeah. Tasty. Everyone knows the first few bars of this song but it really cranks the whole way through. It really takes you places. Classic.
Thriller – Michael Jackson (From Greg)
“It’s close to midnight
and something evil’s lurkin’ in the dark
Under the moonlight
you see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream
but terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze
as horror looks you right between the eyes
Yes. Fuck yes. A thousand times yes.
It’s so perfect it ought to be obvious. I’m mad I didn’t think of it.
At the end of the day, it’s really the only song you need.
Happy Fall Everybody!