In Praise Of The Autumn Song
Seasons change and so do feelings. Here are some songs for what you're going through, now through December.
BY Dave Holmes | Nov 23, 2017 | Music
Summer music is irresistible, catchy, hopeful—and you can keep it. Autumn music is where it’s really at. As the weather cools, I drop the pop and reach for the Real Estate. You should too. And you’re in luck: We’re right in the thick of the season, bundled up in fisherman’s sweaters, watching the leaves change, drinking warm beverages that taste vaguely of nutmeg, and dreading Thanksgiving. It’s a season that might vanish altogether if our planet continues to warm, so let’s appreciate it while we can.
First, we must define our terms. What is autumn music? To me, the music that matches the season is rock and pop music with a little jangle to it, under a thick layer of regret and longing. Songs with a more wistful lyrical content, and a chillier guitar tone. Songs that allow you to feel unrequited love at a tailgate party. Songs that make you contemplate your mortality, in fleece. Not sad music necessarily, but music that acknowledges that sadness is a necessary part of a healthy life, and accompanies you on your journey through it. (Also, sometimes just sad music.)
I’ll put it this way:
- Dua Lipa is summer, Courtney Barnett is autumn.
- Mötley Crüe is summer, Superchunk is autumn.
- Zayn is summer, Niall is autumn.
- Phoenix is summer, Jason Isbell is autumn.
- Out of Time is summer, Automatic for the People is autumn.
- Avicii is summer, and one of the main reasons to love autumn music is that the category excludes EDM.
Without question, the peak era for autumn music was the late 1980s into the early 1990s, specifically in the genre of what we were then calling “college radio music,” before Nirvana broke out and ruined everything. (Settle down. They were fine, but they led so quickly to Candlebox and widespread Doc Martens usage that college radio culture never really recovered.) Artists like the Lemonheads, Buffalo Tom, and Juliana Hatfield served up howls of yearning and disillusionment over crisp guitars, and served as the soundtrack to every crush and disappointment of my early adulthood. I really cherish these musical memories, and secretly anticipate the shortening of the days each year, so that I can really get into it.
Below and on Spotify, a playlist of some classic Songs of Autumn. Throw on a chunky knit, look at some leaves, and embrace some autumnal vibes.