Fall is for the feels. That’s probably why I am obsessed with it: this crispy period between September and December bears the potential to summon my full emotional spectrum. For instance, take my strut down State Street on your average, 56-degree autumn day. During said strut, my mindset drastically depends on if that neutral 56 is accompanied by toasty sunshine or a gray, windy haze.
It’s just like how the mood of my trek shifts based on if Sufjan Stevens or Beyonce shuffles into my headphones. Walking to class on a bitter, bleak autumn day to the beat of “Single Ladies” would evoke a perplexing concoction of emotions similar to the conflicting response that would arise if Sufjan’s melancholic “Should Have Known Better” was your soundtrack to October’s most bright and energizing day.
The magic in autumn (and music) stems from the ability to inexplicably invigorate. Everything in autumn looks so alive and being someone who is a little too aesthetically influenced, it makes me feel so alive. The leaves are vibrant, warm, glowing almost, and the air is charged with a tingly chill that bites my cheeks and snaps me into the present.
Speaking of a queue, my autumnal emotionality has moved me to make a playlist to accent the paradoxical ambiance of the season. See below for a select soundtrack of tunes intended to enhance your most unapologetically moody fall feels.
For your autumn existential crisis: “I Need a Forest Fire” by James Blake and Bon Iver. [spotify:https://open.spotify.com/track/0TLAptKgYxe7F0KewWH6X6]
Honestly, I should have known what I was getting into when indulging in a James Blake and Justin Vernon collaboration. Just look at Blake’s album title (The Colour in Anything) and cover art (a muted watercolor of a solitary, gray man standing in a stormy, gray forest among scraggly, gray trees) and you’ll know what existential dread feels like. Add Bon Iver to the mix and the two manifest fall in their angelically mingling (and sometimes clashing) falsettos.
For when you’re embodying fun ‘n’ flirty fall (or “Triple F,” as I’ve coined it): “The Less I Know The Better” by Tame Impala [spotify:https://open.spotify.com/track/6K4t31amVTZDgR3sKmwUJJ]
“Triple F” swiftly becomes “Quadruple F” when you hear the iconically funky bassline of this psychedelic-pop banger. It’s seductively playful, yet deeply layered and mildly desperate — it’s like getting lost in autumn’s luminosity only to realize winter is (unironically) coming. The chorus “oh, my love, can’t you see yourself by my side?” is dreamy, nudging you to dwell in the possibility of things taking off with your current crush (hey, it is cuffing season).
For when you’re filled with unidentifiable, midway-through-the-semester angst: “Youth” by Glass Animals [spotify:https://open.spotify.com/track/1LPGwuFgIzbJoShfDdw7MY]
Opening with a simple, stagnant beat that quickly spirals into dizzying yet intriguing chaos, the September release “Youth” embodies the rise and fall of young, hot angst. It’s that special kind of unrest that usually hits a little-over-halfway through the fall semester. Your repetitive reality has set in, everything is a little less new and exciting, yet you’re surrounded by stimulation.
The jury is still out regarding my feelings towards Joanne, but this sultry anthem of self-love (and I mean self love) is undeniably catchy and electrifying. This is the ideal background song to a strut across the Diag when you’re decked out in your favorite edgy, fall layers. Okay, even if you’re just in leggings and a sweatshirt, Gaga makes you stand up a little strater, gaze a little more cooly and take on your day a little more fiercely. Before you know it, you’re on board with the song’s signature proposition, “let’s funk downtown.”
Lastly, for when you’re just trying to contently appreciate the beauty around you: “8(circle)” by Bon Iver [spotify:https://open.spotify.com/track/47IklCMgkgWvI4jpkdrop0]
The rising horns, mellow wooden taps and ethereal harmonies of this new track tempt you to step back, settle in and look around — maybe even chuckle under your breath a little. “8(circle)” builds to a simultaneously clashing and celestial end — a perfect combination of the euphoric, cringeworthy and indescribable fall feels. Just let it soak in — for as Vernon warns us on the first lyric of the first track on his October record, 22, A Million, “it might be over soon.”