Fall songs guide: Tunes to get you into the autumnal spirit


Illustration by Ruth Ellen Berry

Here’s a list of fall tunes to listen to this fall as you go on rainy autumn walks and sip on pumpkin spice lattes.

Jorja Siemons, Assistant City Editor

Feeling like autumn crept up too fast? Still need to get into the spirit of the season? Check out these 15 songs perfect for changing leaves, rainy days, pumpkin spice lattes and apple pies.

1. “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young

With soft banjo-guitar chords and a harmonica solo, Young returns to his folk roots in this homage to the autumnal moon cycle. “Harvest Moon” feels like driving down a maple tree-lined street with your windows down.

2. “Autumn Town Leaves” by Iron & Wine

“Autumn Town Leaves” drips in sweetness with lyrics like “Some want love and some want gold / I just want to see you in the morning.” Iron & Wine’s alternative indie style hits home in this stripped yet affectionate song perfect for late-night listens.

3. “Amoeba” by Clairo

Clairo’s heavenly vocal harmonies shine through in this song from her latest album, “Sling.” Between the funky electric guitar and consistent reverb, “Amoeba” is a song anyone can groove to.

4. “Stormy Weather” by Etta James

Only Etta James could make rainy days and gloomy moods sound this beautiful. The sentimental love song was originally written in 1933 by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler, but James’ rendition stands on its own given her emotive tone and contralto vocal timbre.

5. “Apple Pie” by Lizzy McAlpine

Looking for the perfect song to listen to in the kitchen this fall? Turn on McAlpine’s ballad for cozy vibes and charming lyrics such as “… you feel like / City life, apple pie baked just right / Home is wherever you are tonight.”

6. “Crimson & Clover” by Tommy James & The Shondells

This 1968 classic from the psychedelic rock artist will help you achieve your main character moment one guitar riff at a time, painting the image of crimson leaves to match the trees outside.

7. “Boyish” by Japanese Breakfast

“Boyish” is the perfect soundtrack for crying glamorously on a candlelit night. It feels like a flashback and it’s laced with nostalgia — ideal for late-night ruminations. “What do you want from me?” Michelle Zauner sings. “If you don’t like how I look, then leave.”

8. “Where You Lead” by Carole King

The theme song for the beloved Y2K comedy-drama “Girlmore Girls,” King’s earnest ballad will make you want to put on a Lorelai-esque cable knit or corduroy jacket. Curl up with a pumpkin spice latte and binge the series.

9. “Dog Years” by Maggie Rogers

“Dog Years’” music video encapsulates the song’s vibe perfectly: a rainy walk among autumn leaves. Rogers marries folk and pop seamlessly, adding in chimes, rattlesnake tail shakes and other unconventional sounds to make the song sonically complex.

10. “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

Chapman’s famous 1988 song uses soothing rhythmic acoustic guitar with a bouncy downbeat to evoke escapist imagery. Listening makes you want to grab your love by the hand and vanish into a swirl of autumn leaves.

11. “Fancy Shoes” by The Walters

The third song in their album “Songs for Dads,” “Fancy Shoes” has a stripped-down, acoustic quality akin to songs off The Lumineers’ album “Cleopatra.” Perfect for any autumn evening party, this song feels like kicking off high heels and dancing barefoot in the kitchen.

12. “Boomer” by Bartees Strange

Amid all the seasonal downers on this playlist, “Boomer” feels like the cathartic release of a sunny day in the midst of fall. The indie rock anthem hints at the vocal stylings of Alabama Shakes, with sharp staccato and electric guitar for days.

13. “Tis Autumn” by Nat King Cole

The 1941 jazz ensemble was written by Henry Nemo and features soft piano with Cole’s gentle voice repeating the phrase “La-di-da, di-da-di-dum, ‘tis Autumn.” A soft-tempo makes the song calming and perfect for relaxing fall mornings.

14. “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes

The sonic accumulation of music in “White Winter Hymnal” will give you all the serotonin you need as the weather gets colder and wintertime knocks on our front doors. Its rhythmic electric bass and tambourine creates a seasonal spirit perfect for late fall.

15. “Halloween” by Phoebe Bridgers

“Halloween” is haunting – in the best way. Bridgers (whose signature skeleton jumpsuit screams spooky all on its own) contrasts ethereal vocals and dark lyrics to evoke a bittersweet aura.

Maia Spoto and Ilana Arougheti contributed reporting.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @JorjaSiemons 

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