It’s fall break, and that means it’s time to kick back and relax. Of course, some great tunes must be in the background. So here are my choices for the season. The top five lead up to the best one.
- Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
This is my list and I make the rules and I have decided that it is a fall album strictly because of association. I began to really appreciate this album for the first time in high school, and I loved it so much that I would listen to it in the car everyday on the way to and from school in the fall of my tenth grade year. It was the first vinyl I bought for myself after receiving a record player for Christmas later that year, and to this day it’s still in my top five favorite albums of all time. The dreamy, whimsical seventies sound of songs like “Gold Dust Woman”, “Songbird”, and “Dreams”, combined with the more lively, passionate soft rock jams such as “Go Your Own Way” and “The Chain” are what make this album so versatile and iconic. Despite this album being a classic to nearly everyone, it’s one of my favorite fall albums because of the nostalgia it creates. Every time I listen to Rumours, I’m essentially transported back in time to the fall of 2014, and it feels good. I don’t recommend Rumours so that you’ll have the same associations to the album as me, but I do recommend making your own fall memories around this album and then carrying them with you whenever you hear it.
- Stranger in the Alps – Phoebe Bridgers
Listen: there was no way I could make a list of my favorite music without including Phoebe Bridgers. Stranger In the Alps is a classic simply because of Bridgers’ ability to tell a story through each of her songs. In “Motion Sickness,” she sings of missing someone that you know you shouldn’t miss, while in “Killer” she captures the vulnerability that comes along with intimacy. Like literally every other album on this list, Stranger in the Alps is about feelings, but Bridgers offers a new inner monologue of self reflection. Her sweet voice brings a unique softness, something that makes this album a perfect fall listen. It’s the perfect combination of easy listening and emotional sincerity, like listening to your best friend. Of course I recommend Phoebe Bridgers not only because of the emotional value of this album, but also because if you have never listened to this album in its entirety yet, there’s no better time to do it than now.
- For Emma, Forever Ago – Bon Iver
I am required by law to add Bon Iver to this list. But it’s a good thing that I really do love this album. The loneliness echoed throughout Bon Iver’s debut album For Emma, Forever Ago makes me wonder if I, too, should live in a cabin in the woods for months without human interaction – just as Justin Vernon did to write this album. And while this album is also perfectly suited for the gloomy doldrums of winter, it’s one of my favorite albums to listen to in the fall because of the mood Vernon has created. It’s melancholic yet sweet, quiet yet powerfully wistful, the perfect album for quiet solitude. In my opinion, this album is best listened to alone, for the moments when you feel especially comfortable in your loneliness. It so perfectly matches the solitude and melancholy that you feel on a cold, rainy autumn day, when the idea of being alone is the most inviting.
- Carrie & Lowell – Sufjan Stevens
I can’t listen to Sufjan Stevens without feeling something (some sort of sadness, loneliness, etc.). Carrie and Lowell is the perfect album for those times when you feel sad and want to make yourself feel more sad by listening to sad music. Like For Emma, Forever Ago, Carrie and Lowell is best listened to alone, either staring at your ceiling or dramatically looking out of the car window like you’re in a movie or something. If you’re looking to reflect this fall, or just find some music that makes you feel something, this is one of my favorites. An indie-folk album from 2015 that illustrates Stevens’ own wisdom of families, grief, and loneliness, Carrie and Lowell imposes a unique sympathy among listeners in a way that is so personal to Stevens himself. I recommend listening to this album this fall if you’re looking for the kind of deep emotion that Stevens reveals through his songwriting, or if you are just looking for something quiet to cry along with.
- Boygenius – Boygenius
To be honest, I had to give this album first place because that is what it truly deserves – first place on this list and first place in my heart. When this album was first released almost a year ago, I fell in love immediately. I was not surprised by how much I ended up loving it – a supergroup made up of indie queens Phoebe Bridgers (yes, she’s on this list twice), Lucy Dacus, and Julian Baker was undoubtedly destined for greatness. Yet boygenius quickly became one of the best things to come out of 2018. And after seeing their concert in Boston last November, I was even more convinced of this. Bridgers, Dacus, and Baker each contribute their own unique sound to their solos in each of the songs, but something about hearing their voices together is especially powerful, like this album was absolutely supposed to happen. I love this album for fall (okay, and every other season too…) because it’s so emotional and real, and it offers the kind of honesty and passion that I can relate to. The emotionally charged intensity of this album is what I think every woman needs exposure to as we draw closer to the end of the year. Made up of only six hauntingly beautiful songs that capture the pure emotions of feeling alone and needing to be alone in your twenties, boygenius is an impassioned collaboration of beautiful singers and songwriters and raw emotion. I would highly recommend listening to this album this fall, as I’m sure that it will become one of your forever favorites, too.