The Journal’s fall 2019 playlist

Songs for walking to class, studying, and embracing the chilly weather

Autumn is the best time for guitar-filled folk music.
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Blustering winds, unexpected rain, and dreaded midterms are getting us all down this month, as fall finally rears its head. Now that summer has ended and upbeat music no longer matches the mood and weather, it’s time for a new seasonal playlist to set the tone for autumn.

The playlist I’ve carefully curated for this season isn’t limited to songs about fall—although some of the songs do have lyrics about autumn. Instead, these songs are filled with folksy guitar-strumming, crooning voices, and the melancholy you feel when summer is over and you know winter is about to begin.

These songs are perfect for walking to class through fallen leaves, tuning out the world in Stauffer, or flipping through a book on a rainy day.

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“Whippoorwill” by Darlingside

This track by four-person indie folk band Darlingside blends vocals, guitar, banjo, and other instrumentals together, building into a crescendo as it progresses.

The band is made up of college friends Don Mitchell, Auyon Mukharji, Harris Paseltiner, and David Senft, who all contribute their voices and different instruments to Darlingside’s music. The group met at Williams College in Massachusetts, and began touring together in 2009.

“Whippoorwill” has haunting and abstract lyrics that seem to have a deep meaning without their context being too clear. The refrain is sung with a haunting harmony, as the four members belt out, “All my kingdom for a weekend / All our kingdoms slip away.”

When you’re sitting in your fifth endless lecture of the week, these lyrics resonate—it can certainly feel like everything is worth sacrificing just to get to the weekend.

“Autumn Town Leaves” by Iron & Wine

A contemplative folk playlist just isn’t complete without a song by Iron & Wine.

Samuel Ervin Beam, the American singer-songwriter performing under the name Iron & Wine, tints most of his songs with a beautiful mixture of pensiveness and positivity. “Autumn Town Leaves” is no exception.

Beam’s lyrics transport you somewhere whimsical, where nature reigns and everything happens for a reason.

“Mice move out when the field is cut / Serpents curl when the sun comes up / Songbirds only end up where they're going,” he lists, reassuring you that in a world of uncertainty, some things are inevitable.

Bringing it back to human desires, Beam later sings, “Some get hard and some go home / Some want flesh and some want bone / I just want to see you in the morning.” 

If you like the idea of cheery fall folk, this song will put some pep in your step.

Warm with You” by Hayden Calnin

Hayden Calnin, an Australian indie folk singer—whose more popular songs have been featured in shows such as Teen Wolf and Suits—brings us this upbeat folksy tune about dreaming of a better future.

Calnin told online music publication Earmilk that the song is about “escapism [...] an expression of wanting to run and get away from everything.”

The song’s lyrics certainly inspire ideas of running away, with lines like “You and me in the middle of nowhere / Fight the frost of the morning blue,” and “Daydream of a life you'd choose / With me, your dogs and some booze.”

Calnin uses layered vocals to give “Warm with You” an echoed effect, so his lyrics sound like they reverberate as he sings them.

This song, more than any other, will make you want to seize the moment: to climb a mountain, explore off-campus, or tell that certain someone your true feelings.

“Pothole” by Modern Baseball

This song is admittedly a little less folksy than the others on the playlist, but I couldn’t resist including a Modern Baseball song.

The sometimes-indie rock, sometimes-pop punk band, made up of Brendan Lukens, Jake Ewald, Sean Huber, and Ian Farmer, has been on hiatus since January 2017, with no plans to reunite.

However, to me, this band still perfectly encapsulates the sometimes stagnant feeling of fall. While many of Modern Baseball’s songs are full of angst, this one is slow and reflective.

2014’s “Pothole,” written and sung by Ewald, is about contemplating a relationship that isn’t working out, and relishing being alone. Though it has a somewhat melancholy message, it speaks to what a lot of people feel when they’re with someone they don’t necessarily love anymore.

The first few lines of the song set the tone for the rest of the track, as Ewald sings “The fossils of my footsteps / Will be unearthed in a far off date unknown / Impressed in concrete from walking home alone / After walking you home.”

I don’t know about you, but this tune perfectly encapsulates the feeling of walking home in the rain, late at night, in the middle of October.

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Whether you’re staring out the car window on a rainy day pretending to be in an indie movie, or staring blankly at a page of lecture notes, these acoustic songs are the ideal soundtrack for your autumn.

For over an hour of folksy fall hits, including these four great songs, check out The Queen’s Journal Lifestyle section’s ultimate fall playlist.

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