Graham’s Autumn Playlist

It’s the time of the season…


As Autumn begins, many things are changing. From the dew now coating our cars to the yellowing of the trees’ leaves, much of what we feel, see, and hear is changing along with our proximity to the sun. This, of course, means that there’s a different vibe that we seek in our music than that of summer’s; I love autumn and its warm motifs and often seek out the same characteristics in the music I listen to during these months. Below is the list of songs in my playlist and the impetus behind their inclusion.

Stratosphere - Album by Duster | Spotify

First in my playlist is “Moon Age” by Duster, a short song with warm, warbly keyboards coloring the lethargic drums underneath. The imagery conjured by the song feels like that of driving on a desolate county road at night, moonlight filtering through the corn stalks. “Autumn Leaves” by Cannonball Adderly plays next, a relaxed jazz classic that sways through solos and verses smoothly and effortlessly throughout the ten-minute runtime. While the title may seem trite given the context of this playlist, the song is the perfect accompaniment to a walk over crunching leaves and below newly exposed canopies of exposed branches.

Spotify – Helplessness Blues

Following “Autumn Leaves” is “Helplessness Blues” by Fleet Foxes, a pastoral folk song that encapsulates much of the feeling of being a senior this autumn. The lyrics portray the narrator as a young adult intimidated by the vastness of the world around them. Refrains of “If I had an orchard, I’d work till I’m sore” highlight a desire that many facing the wide-open future hold to live a simpler life. The societal and, sometimes, familial pressure to get a high-paying job in lieu of what we may desire more is an omnipresent anxiety for those about to step into this next stage of life. Thus, as applications for university open up and deadlines near, this song provides a healthy catharsis from these worries.

Spotify – The Glow Pt. 2

Worry concerning the future is also showcased by “The Moon” by The Microphones, a song about self-reflection and coping with things coming to an end. Following a gorgeous passage of layered acoustic guitars buzzing and ringing out among one another comes an urgent, linear second half of the song, in which the vocals come in and horns punch through tense drum beats. The lyrical content of the song is stream-of-consciousness and heart-wrenching, detailing the singer’s process of wallowing in a breakup, reflecting on what was and fearing especially what will be. This theme of things ending and the aftermath mirrors the process of leaves falling, branches turning brittle, and perennial plants shriveling up for the winter, to be born again in the spring.

Sound of Silver - Album by LCD Soundsystem | Spotify

“Someone Great” by LCD Soundsystem continues the themes of things coming to an end, a song in which James Murphy describes the day he found out he had lost someone important to him. Underneath are dance beats, swelling bass tones, a raspy synthesizer lead, and bells mimicking the vocal melody. Through an unlikely unison of electronic instruments and overwhelmingly human lyrics, a feeling of bittersweet nostalgia is stirred within the listener.


Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill - Album by Grouper | Spotify

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - Wikipedia

“Heavy Water” by Grouper is composed only of Liz Harris’ echoing vocals and an acoustic guitar, the atmosphere surrounding these elements swamped with reverb, lyrics similar to the feeling of wanting to stay under warm covers instead of stepping into the cold room and waking up. After this comes “Kamera” by Wilco, which is a peppy country rock song continuing a sonic feeling of both warmth and cold.


King Krule: Man Alive! Album Review | Pitchfork

Parquet Courts: Light Up Gold Album Review | Pitchfork

“Underclass” by King Krule has a similar tone to “Kamera”, a jazzy and relaxed song taken in a different direction by the grim narration in the lyrics. After this comes the electrifying “Light Up Gold II”, stopping almost as quickly as it starts and celebrating self-fulfillment in a brief punk-tinged flash. “Águas de Março” and “Inside Out” further these themes, the former with warm Bossa Nova and the latter with blurry, sleepy indie rock.


Fall brings with it themes both warm and cold, both represented by songs within this playlist. Links to the playlist are below through Spotify and Apple Music if you want to give my recommendations a try! I hope that somebody finds a new fall favorite through this article.