One of my hometown friends explained to me how rather than making playlists based on emotions or to fit a certain ‘vibe’ she instead makes a playlist for each month of the year, titled simply with the name of the month. At first, I thought she was oversimplifying the joys of carefully curating a playlist for each niche scenario or emotion, but then I quickly realized she may have been onto something all along….
Let’s be honest, how many of us spend hours putting together the perfect soundtrack for a late-night drive or mid-term breakdown? I know I’m guilty of this… but the thing is, aside from playing one of my masterfully crafted musical catalogs, I’ll usually end up opting for my liked songs, playing my five to ten most recently liked songs over and over for a week until I get sick of them and find another few to rotate between. However, every so often, I’ll shuffle my liked songs and a song I listened to 500 times for two weeks straight last spring will come on and it feels like I’m being transported back in time.
What I’m trying to say is that my friend was an utter genius for this. Admittedly, even when we are sad, chances are we just don’t want to listen to the same sad songs we used to cry to last month—no, we want the latest tearjerker that we just discovered three days ago and can’t get out of our heads. A monthly playlist serves the same purpose as a monthly photo dump, you press play and life instantly rewinds to that exact month. I’ve found myself reminiscing on moments I wouldn’t have otherwise because I’ll recall what I was thinking about or doing when a certain song came on. And so, as fall nears its end, and my first semester of university is nearly finished, I present to you my top sounds of the season over the last three months.
My Top Songs from September to November 2023
“I Remember Everything” by zach bryan and kacey musgraves
Once I heard a clip of this song on TikTok I knew it would be one of my favourites from Zach Bryan’s upcoming album and it did not disappoint. This somber ballad, featuring Kacey Musgraves, is a rear-view look into the bittersweetness of remembering what once was, for all the good and the bad.
“Northern Attitude” by Noah Kahan
Everyone knows “Noah Kahan” and “melancholy” are synonymous at this point, and “Northern Attitude” shows Kahan at his best. The blend of powerful acoustics with his harmonic lower range makes every listen a cathartic experience.
“Making The Bed” by Olivia Rodrigo
Rodrigo’s heartfelt ballad takes an introspective look at how to proceed upon realizing that all along we’ve been the problem. It’s for the girls who self-destruct no matter how many times they say they won’t and are constantly and tirelessly picking up their pieces.
“Garden Song” by Phoebe Bridgers
I’ve been an avid Phoebe Bridgers listener for years; the complexity and depth of her lyrics are resounding, a remarkable achievement for any artist let alone one so young. Bridgers carries a sense of wisdom within her lyrics and has a voice that somehow sounds well beyond her years. Her profound lyricism and soft, yet raspy voice comes through in “Garden Song”.
“History of a Man” by Maisie Peters
This is the closing track on English singer-songwriter Maisie Peters’s sophomore album, “The Good Witch”, and it hits like a punch. Peters uses powerful verbatim to intertwine the tales of women wronged since the beginning of time, and how our pain inherently interconnects the knowledge and experiences of all women—it’s like a language only we speak and there’s something so sacred about that.
“Booster Seat” by Spacey Jane
I revisited this song from my old fall playlist while walking home from campus one mid-October evening and remember grinning from ear to ear. I had an iced coffee in hand and was returning from a meeting that went particularly well, and I just had a moment of realization while it was playing that I was here, and that things were really coming together. I can’t help but feel cheerful when it comes on.
“Is it Over Now?” by Taylor Swift
Swift’s synth-pop ballad is reminiscent of late 2015 when she first released her top-charting album, 1989. “Is it Over Now?” is a powerful and emotionally charged record that details the final, agonizing moments of a tumultuous relationship. One element I’ve always loved about 1989 is the acoustics recorded on the backing track, such as the shouts in this song. It really brings all these raw, vivid emotions to the surface.