By Kristan Pagliei
While preparing for midterms and changing your wardrobe from shorts and flip-flops to sweaters and boots, the sound begins to change as well. The change in weather tends to inspire music that matches the sky’s new color: gray. Amidst the gray days of fall, there are incandescent hues that have been hidden for the past year. These songs are for all of those colors, gray included.
10. “American Football by American Football,” 1999
This album is more a wounded wave of goodbye to summer than a welcoming hand to fall, but those two
hands can be folded quite nicely on the Thanksgiving table. The LP is best heard spinning on a turntable or directly in your ears.
9. “We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic” by Foxygen, 2013
Between static and screeches is a detailed and eclectic album, taking influences spanning the past century. This one may not be tailored specifically for fall listening but it is fit, nonetheless. Its cool-weather psychedelia is suitable for late nights and introducing to new-semester friends over coffee.
8. “Wincing the Night Away” by The Shins, 2007
James Mercer’s exceptional tenor eases through the highly-instrumental album like a cool breeze across a dry field. The Shins tend to evoke an unintentional comfort or tenderness; this album, in particular, is the melodic version of being wrapped in the warmest blanket.
7. “Bookends” by Simon and Garfunkel, 1968
This compilation of lullabies takes any negativity associated with fall and disregards it, seeing it only as good and romantic. While this album’s lyrics have nothing to do with fall, really, it’s truly cinematic sound fits any emotion connected with it but fits best with a bulky jacket and a scarf around the neck.
6. “Stuck in Love: The Writer’s Playlist,” 2013
Inclusive with Stuck in Love—the drama dusted with comedy about a family of writers and their failed and blossoming love-lives—is an assortment of modern indie tunes perfect for October mornings and November nights. The movie isn’t bad, either.
5. “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” by Bob Dylan, 1963
While most Dylan albums have a chilly feel, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is the chilliest of all. The cover alone sends arm hair north—two lovers huddled together, walking along a gray street, smiling in their dense overcoats. “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” gives off an especially pre-election vibe, fit to the current political situation.
4. “Strange Geometry” by The Clientele, 2005
This album is walking through a stunning area near dusk: the sidewalk freshly washed by rain, well-lit by antique lampposts. Listen to this one with a cup of hot whatever—tea, coffee—preferably in the evening, but is appropriate for any hour of the twenty-four.
3. “Castaways and Cutouts” by The Decemberists, 2002
Through a series of medieval-esque fables, The Decemberists take a different approach to changing seasons. It sounds like growing pains and acceptance, sort of like when the first chill of autumn comforts the mourning of summer’s departure.
2. “The Boy with the Arab Strap” by Belle and Sebastian, 1998
The quintessential autumn anthem: nostalgic schoolyard hymns, the seesaw of detesting and reaffirming life, unrequited love tales and heaps of complaints. This most apt when it’s all but winter and the semester is ending, but a few weeks of torture comes first.
1. “Five Leaves Left” by Nick Drake, 1969
Nick Drake’s voice is as brittle and crisp as the settling leaves on the ground. Five Leaves Left’s heavily stringed symphonies layer behind Drake’s melancholy tales of goodbyes and, like autumn, every chapter’s imminent ending.