The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Studying underneath a tree rimmed with auburn leaves. Drinking hot coffee in the coziest café in town. Hanging out with friends, staring up at a harvest moon on a chilly night. These autumn scenes are lovely, yet they lack one thing: the right music. I’ve rounded up some of my favourite songs of diverse genres, from indie to jazz, that make for an ideal fall playlist.
I never tire of golden-age crooners, or the visions of those golden falling leaves that “Autumn in New York” recalls. A classic jazz song covered by many popular artists of the era, its lyrics speak of “shimmering clouds” and “the promise of new love” in the form of a beautiful, shrouded memory. This version of “Autumn in New York”, unlike most other covers, is made into a duet, but this iconic pairing of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong gives it a romantic flair, perfect for an autumn love.
The name alone is enough to warm me inside out. Taylor Swift’s Folklore is full of gems reminiscent of a mellow fall day, but the comforting imagery of “cardigan” and Taylor’s soft vocals makes it my top pick from the album. Detailed, poetic lyrics about a lost love contribute to the relatability and vulnerability of a song that has found a home in so many hearts. “cardigan” is founded in a simple piano and rhythmic accompaniment that builds into layers of enveloping harmonies, quite accurately representing the feeling of putting on a warm sweater after a chilly walk.
You know Hozier has to be on this list. With his vulnerable, soulful voice accompanied only by guitar plucking, “cherry wine” is the ultimate chill fall day song. Hozier uses beautiful metaphors, of blood, ice and fire to depict the love he feels for the subject of his crooning. However, the lyrics reveal her true abusive nature, and this hidden meaning makes the sweet folk melody of “cherry wine” all the more poignant.
I have to say, I “don’t know why” this song gives me autumn vibes. Maybe the idea of a bluesy fall heartbreak embodied in three minutes of Norah Jones’s sultry tone is too good to pass up. She murmurs melodic themes of loss over jazz piano, guitar and soft drums, giving the sad meaning a sweeter taste. The mellow composition of “Don’t Know Why”, evoking sounds from the 60s, is appreciated by all audiences, from classic jazz enthusiasts to lovers of pop.
For those looking to find new genres of music, this chill tune is a lovely introduction to Korean R&B. An easy listen that first sounds like a lighthearted love song, the Korean sensation Crush actually sings wistfully about his relationship of old. The fall season is used to reflect his reality turning from a joyful summer to a lonely winter, being left only with memories of his long-gone love interest.
Yes, this is a cover of the original song, but in my opinion, Daniela Andrade’s voice is the epitome of soothing love ballads. Being the coffee-reliant students that we are, it’s very easy to imagine sipping our favourite cozy drink in a café with “Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop” playing as the perfect background music. Daniela’s sweet voice singing lyrics such as “I’ve seen the waters that make your eyes shine, now I’m shining too” will make your heart soar into the blue autumn sky.
Searching for a soul-stirring piano ballad in a sexy foreign tongue? This is the song for you. “Je te laisserai des mots”, by Montreal-based singer Patrick Watson, is comprised mainly of emotional piano intertwined with gentle humming. He sings a lovely, brief message to his lover, that he’ll leave them words of his love and when they wish, they can collect them and in the process return his love. Despite this touching meaning, the melody is quite dramatically melancholy, offering you a main character moment in the falling leaves if you so desire.
Lizzy’s rich tone over top of a heartwarming indie track (literally titled after one of the best fall desserts of all time) makes for a cozy autumn listen. Lizzy McAlpine has been one of many poetic singer-songwriters to revitalize indie music in recent years, and she uses her talents to create gentle atmospheric melodies. I adore the use of soft harmonies and guitar, among several other instruments, to form a song that feels just like home.
Once again, the understated indie guitar songs have pulled at my heartstrings. Umair and Zoha’s haunting vocals echo as if in a lonely, empty room. The sad atmosphere created by their tones and the chilling whine of instruments mirrors somber lyrics: “take your turn, I’m through”. I feel as though this song is suited for dark cold nights when a moving melody is the best companion.
These songs have certainly kept me company through the chillier days and darkening nights. They’ve filled my autumn with emotion, meaning and reflection, so heed this advice and wrap these songs in your love as they seek to do the same for you.