According to your iPhone weather app, the average temperature for the next 10 days just dropped like 20 degrees. That can only mean one thing — fall is finally here. Too bad fall in Virginia only lasts about three weeks. Nevertheless, before all the leaves are gone and your cute sweaters get replaced by clunky coats, let these songs soundtrack your autumnal bliss.
“Gust of Wind” by Pharrell and Daft Punk
What’s the best part about fall? Pumpkin-flavored everything? Sweaters? Leaves changing colors? No. None of those. The best part of fall is the crisp, silky kiss of the wind. In all other seasons, wind sucks. Winter wind, aggressive. Spring wind, unnecessary. Summer wind, just a myth. But wind in the fall? A cool, delicate autumn’s brush on the cheek? There’s nothing better. That’s why Pharrell and Daft Punk decided to dedicate a whole song to wind — seasonally interpreted as autumnal. The mesh of this blissful, groovy song and the ecstasy of autumn weather creates the perfect hybrid — hip improvisation and blood-red leaves. Listen to the song while walking around outside at 10 in the morning and try not to do a jig with every step — it’s nearly impossible.
“Vancouver” by Jeff Buckley
Jeff Buckley’s catalogue is full of heart-wrenchers. “Vancouver” is no different. Most of his songs give you an incredibly detailed account of love and loss, but with “ Vancouver,” the song feels lyrically directionless — “I am your failed husband contender / I'm your loan shark of bliss” is an exemplary quip of confusion. But nevertheless, the vocal style, melody and guitarmanship are nothing short of brilliant. You can hear his longing, desire and hurt through his vehicles of delivery. And what’s more autumn than extremely heightened emotions? Listen to this song after sunset, driving around at night with the windows cracked slightly, but not all the way down. It’s cold out.
“Impossible Germany” by Wilco
This song is a prime example of the brilliance in simplicity. The song opens with the lines “impossible Germany / unlikely Japan.” What does that mean? Literally no idea. But it doesn’t matter. This song demands immediate and direct attention for its cautious quiet. Wilco finishes out with a two minute guitar passage from guitarist Nels Cline, which shifts the quiet brilliance into head-bobbing verve. This song is the perfect soundtrack to watching an autumn sunset. Soak in the pink and honey hues, embrace the breeze, put on that second layer and appreciate the life you lead.
“Sometimes” by My Bloody Valentine
This is the soundtrack for your walk back home from the library on a Sunday night. Sure, it was a brisk 55 degrees earlier today, but your denim jacket and chinos combo is not sufficiently keeping you warm when Mrs. Sun is gone. But you trudge along, reflecting on your Sunday scaries, ready for the week ahead. This song is that transition. A little light-headed, a little stressful, but nevertheless a feeling of fullness — whatever that fullness may be for you. Should you smile or cry? Who knows. Listen to this song and find out.
“Parado en el Medio de la Vida” by Serú Girán
A sweet, simple song. Just a man and his guitar, reflecting on his life half-spent. Like the album’s cover art, this song feels like the youthful joy of playing outside on a cold November’s day, gloveless-hands getting dry and red and finally coming inside to sit down for soup. That full warmth you feel in your stomach once your abuela’s sopita is finished is evoked when the song hits its chorus — “Estoy parado en el medio de la vida / Y aquí yo me siento muy, muy bien.” You can’t help but feel fulfilled. The perfect soundtrack to your ride home for Thanksgiving break. Hopefully some leaves are still falling.
“Balmy Night” by Department of Eagles
No fall playlist would be complete without a song from a twangy, guitar-based, heavily-dependent-on-the-aesthetic-of-the-woods band. “Balmy Night” just bleeds aggressive jeans-and-flannels imagery. But what better way to start off the changing of the seasons? The rising and falling guitar strums feel like being lulled into a deep sleep by some motherly divine being. Plus, the use of the word “balmy” is such an incredibly autumnal word. Thanks, Department of Eagles. The song, as a whole, feels like a significant end of something. Perhaps the end of the summer? Perhaps the end of the sweaty legs in jeans? Maybe just the end of this article.