“Vanilla Baby” – Billie Marten
The gentle strumming of the guitar and Billie Martin’s feather-soft vocals are like a warm blanket to the chill of fall. If you like this, the rest of Billie Marten’s discography invokes much the same feeling.
“Autumn Sweater” – Yo La Tengo
A bit literal? Maybe, but this track’s fuzzy, understated production makes it ideal for a walk to school on a brisk November day.
“Call It Fate, Call It Karma” – The Strokes
This song inevitably makes its way back onto my playlist the moment the temperature hits fifty degrees. It’s muted and atmospheric in a way that perfectly suits the season of fall.
“January Hymn” – The Decemberists
Written by a Portland native, this song really captures the feeling of preparing for a cold, gray winter. Listening to “January Hymn” feels like taking a walk on a chilled sunny day.
“Across the Universe” – Fiona Apple
Is this a Beatles song? Yes. Does Fiona Apple pull it off better than they ever could? Also yes. Her voice is smooth like honey and welcomes you in like a warm cup of tea.
“Working for the Knife” – Mitski
Aside from being an excellent recent release, this song captures a lot of the complex feelings that come from settling back into the rhythm of school life.
“Just Like Honey” – The Jesus and Mary Chain
I’d be remiss to not include at least a little bit of shoegaze on a playlist of this theme. The hazy instrumentals and vocals make this song perfect for autumn.
“Velvet Ring” – Big Thief
Big Thief’s discography is the perfect laid back thing for the change of the season.The soft guitar is a nice warm contrast to the seasonal depression you’re probably feeling.
“The Archer” – Alexandra Savior
This song’s slow, vintage kind of sound is just the thing for a nostalgic time of year. “The Archer” feels like a warm cup of coffee on a cool autumn morning.
“Lovers Rock” – TV Girl
This might be cheating since the Christmas song-sampled backing track makes this arguably much more a winter song than a fall one. However, in my experience the ominous encroachment of the Christmas season is actually a defining element of fall, which is also incidental to this simple but excellent song.
“Walk It Back” – The National
Another song that I always return to as it gets cold. The understated synth-y instrumentals paired with the crisp, lowkey vocals feels like a Portland fall in music form.
“Campus” – Vampire Weekend
What could be better for a return to campus than a song literally about the campus environment? This song is almost enough to bring back that idealistic, maybe week-long period at the start of the year where everything feels fresh and new.
“Like Real People Do” – Hozier
Hozier is, in my opinion, the king of the cozy, folksy fall tune. “Like Real People Do” is one of those songs that almost feels wrong to listen to when it’s hot out.