If you’re like me, you have a playlist for every mood, and even every month, to look back at what you were listening to two years ago. This year, I’ve taken all my favorite fall songs from this and previous years and made a definitive fall playlist, ranked. These are the ultimate main character songs, perfect for walking on campus in cute sweaters and Chelsea boots, holding your coffee mysteriously, studying in the library for dreaded finals, or a night spent driving around with your best friends. The playlist is called “your new definitive fall playlist.” on Spotify by Juliana Johnson.
12. “i don’t want that many friends in the first place” by p4rkr
Perfect for a darker vibe, this song is snarky, boastful, and absolutely honest. It’s that season where we cut people out of our lives that don’t benefit us, and this song reflects all the thoughts that come up during this time and what our own toxic thoughts can do, just with synths and a heavy beat.
11. “Back and Forth” by Operator Please
The minute this song starts you’ll be hit with its poppy beat and unique vocals. It’s about a push and pull relationship, where the lead singer declares she’s been back and forth but she’s not done with her lover, perfect for that Thanksgiving lull in our love lives.
10. “Tengo Un Trato” by Mala Rodriguez
Mala Rodriguez is a firecracker, starting the song off with a strong punch. This song is definitely older, released in 2003, but aged like fine wine. Barack Obama actually put the remix of this song on one of his presidential playlists, proving its noteworthiness. It’s set up in a typical rap battle style, dissing her opponent and promising she’ll be a star. Play this when you need a reminder of how bad you really are.
“Pedir barril, haz el favor, pide uno lleno
Lo mejor significa, barre tu terreno
Y si hay que sonar, pues sueno
Son misiones en el cielo, así”
9. Pressure to Party by Julia Jacklin
Stop what you’re doing right now and turn on this song. As soon as it starts, with its warm tones and breathy vocals, you feel like you’re in a movie. This was one of my favorite songs in my senior year of high school, just for the feeling it gave me, but I recently discovered its desperate lyrics, about a break-up the singer has gone through, as she promises she’ll “try to love again soon”. It’s a masterpiece. Play this when you’re walking around campus to feel like a movie character.
“Pressure to not let the inside of my mind
Spill onto the floor for our friends to find
And, oh, what do I do?
‘Cause God how it hurts”
8. Dancing With the Devil by NIKI
NIKI opens this song with her sultry voice and R&B style beats, as she sings about a “relationship” she can’t leave, as she feels addicted to her lover, who doesn’t seem to feel as strongly as she does, declaring she feels she’s losing who she is, but can’t move on. Turn this on after the breakup when you’re missing him most, dancing alone in your room, where you let it all out.
“Oh my god, I’m so gone
I’m dancing with the devil with my high heels on, on
Unapologetic ’bout it”
7. ICU by Phoebe Bridgers
Phoebe Bridgers never misses. Her songs are always a little hauntingly dark, with undertones of romanticism, perfect for fall. This song is about feeling life pass you by in a spiral of depression until you find that person who makes you feel something again, and what it’s like to lose them. Her brutal honesty about the pain she felt when she lost her love shines through like gold in this song. Play this one on a drive around campus at night, windows rolled down.
“And I get this feeling
Whenever I feel good
It’ll be the last time”
6. In My Room by Frank Ocean
I think it’s safe to say Frank Ocean is a classic for our generation. With his smooth voice and clever lyrics, he’s quickly become a favorite. “In My Room” is a fall favorite because it discusses the duality in his life of wealth and his focus on his career and himself along with his love life, making it a perfect balance of bragging and vulnerability. Plus, it’ll just make you feel super cool. Play this one with your friends when you’re getting ready for a (socially-distanced) night out.
“My room, my room, my room with me
Every night you were in my room
My room, my room with me
I guess I can’t state my feelings too soon
I don’t know you”
5. Lemonade by Circa Waves
This song just feels like the end of summer and the start of fall, when the leaves start falling. This song is about the pandemic and feeling like you’re doing something when you’re really doing nothing. It’s about needing life to be more interesting than it is now. Listen to this when you’re studying outside and need something to help you feel better about life.
“And we’re all drinking lemonade
We thought we’d be doing something great
By now, by now”
4. Break by Jack Larsen
Okay, now we’re getting to some of the nearest and dearest songs to me on this list. “Break” is Jack Larsen’s ode to growing up. As a freshman in college, this song hits close to home especially now that we’re all crossing into adulthood. Larsen’s evocative lyrics, walking the listener through his life and asking for God to give him a sign of where he is now in life is perfect for the feeling of change you have between summer and winter. Play this when you miss your parents.
“Nothing on my mind
Got me feeling like I’m in 99
Looking at the sky
Everything was fine”
3. Powerslide by Ryan Beatty
I cannot stress to you how certain I am that this song is for everyone. This song perfectly encapsulates that feeling at the end of summer, where you feel absolutely invincible, hand in hand with who you’re convinced is the love of your life. Beatty opens the track with a groovy beat and synths, with his tongue-in-cheek lyrics, evolving to a declaration of love and everything he treasures about his lover. Play this one when you want to skip and dance around campus.
“Summer’s over when I die
Can’t let go of the heat, can’t let go of your hand”
2. Fit N Full by Samia
This song feels like walking into an underground venue in NYC where you’re the coolest girl in the room. “Fit N Full” is about being obsessed with your looks and body being the “right” look. By the end of the song, she emerges feeling powerful, feeling confident about her body, and wanting to show off who she is. Play this when you need to feel beautiful.
“If you want, I can take it off
And show you what my mama gave me”
1. Canker Sore by Beagles
“Canker Sore” is definitely one of the best songs I’ve heard in my entire life. It’s a work of art, that surprises you with its depth, and that needs to be listened to fully to be understood. The singer whines about how small talk feels like a canker sore in his mouth, and how life has evolved from when he was 17 to his age now of 23, as he is learning “how to stay happy”. The instrumental section is my favorite, slightly discordant, giving you that full feeling in your chest where you know everything will be okay. Play this one where you can lay down, look up at the sky, and watch the clouds pass by.
“All my friends spent their summer’s
With someone they met on Tinder
I wanna throw my phone out of the window”
Overall, these songs are essential to a movie moment season. So go out there, earbuds in, and take the world by storm.