Fall is inarguably the best season for music. If you want to capture the coziness of the season, you’ll need the perfect autumn playlist. I can’t think of a better way to spend a chilly day than by lighting a scented candle, putting on Spotify, and baking pumpkin bread. Stuck on what songs to add to your autumn playlist? Let me help you out.
1. “Cherry Wine” and “Angel of Small Death…” by Hozier
Hozier’s voice is made for the fall. I can’t pinpoint why that is; maybe it’s the low huskiness in it? Or maybe it’s the acoustic accompaniment that reminds me so much of a chill October day? “Cherry Wine” and “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” are two songs that you absolutely need to add to your autumn playlist. While “Angel of Small Death…” is a more upbeat song, perfect for fall foliage drives with your friends, “Cherry Wine” fits the vibe of those gloomy, rainy nights. Really, anything by Hozier works this season.
2. “You’re Dead” by Norma Tanega
Fans of What we do in the Shadows will instantly recognize this song. Not only is Norma Tanega’s single, “You’re Dead,” a great theme song for a show about vampires, but it’s also a must-add to your autumn playlist. The title speaks for itself: it’s spooky, folksy, and oh-so catchy. If you’re throwing a halloween party, make sure to play this song. Everyone, living and dearly departed, will get a kick out of it.
3. “Campus” by Vampire Weekend
There are two reasons why “Campus” by Vampire Weekend belongs on your autumn playlist. First of all, it’s the perfect soundtrack to move-in day. Fall marks the beginning of a new school year, and what’s a more appropriate song to play than one called “Campus”? I love listening to this when I’m walking around my school, basking in the fall weather. Second, look at the artist. Is “Vampire Weekend” not a name that makes you think of halloween?
4. “Zombie” by The Cranberries
It’s doesn’t get more autumn than cranberries and zombies. “Zombie” is a grunge classic; the song is filled with angst, poignant lyrics, and some incredible guitar moments. While the story behind it is much more dark and nuanced than I thought, this song never fails to make me dance (or head bang). This will make for another great addition to your halloween party playlist!
5. “Into the Unknown” by The Blasting Company, ft. Jack Johnson
The girls that get it, get it. This song is from Over The Garden Wall, a hugely overlooked show on Cartoon Network. Yes, I said Cartoon Network. Even though it’s a cartoon, Over the Garden Wall is one of my favorite shows, and its soundtrack is part of the reason why that is. The show’s score perfectly captures the essence of fall, with “Into the Unknown” a standout. The song is melancholy, beautiful, and will instantly transport you to an autumn-touched forest. Play this before you go to bed; it sounds like a slightly sinister lullaby.
6. “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac
I mean, what am I going to do? Not include a song from Fleetwood Mac on my autumn playlist, where one of the members is an actual witch? It doesn’t get any spookier than that. Though it’s hard to choose just one Fleetwood Mac song to go on the playlist, I’d have to go with “The Chain.” Like many other songs I’ve selected, “The Chain” has that folksy, enchanting sound that matches the essence of autumn. I was *this* close to putting “Rhiannon” on this list instead, but either one is a safe bet.
7. “Achilles Come Down” by Gang of Youths
When I think “fall,” I think “drama.” Autumn is the gothest time of the year—that’s a fact, determined by me. “Achilles Come Down” is nothing if not angst and longing. It tells Achilles’s tragic story from two different perspectives: Patroclus, his speculated lover, and Achilles’s intrusive thoughts. Not only does it nail the storytelling element, but the song is also hauntingly beautiful. Those violins! The layering at the end! (Please note, I don’t know if “layering” is actually a term in music. I’m clearly an amateur).
8. “Moon Song” by Phoebe Bridgers
And speaking of “hauntingly beautiful,” here we have the one and only, Phoebe Bridgers. Her music has such a massive chokehold over me. No song hits quite the same as “Moon Song” does. Picture this: you’re on a bike, riding through an orange-and-red cloud of leaves. Normally, I don’t ride bikes, but in this scenario I will. As you’re riding your bike, you’re listening to “Moon Song.” You immediately begin to contemplate your past relationships. While this experience might evoke some negative memories, it will also open your eyes to the beauty surrounding you. Some relationships don’t work out. But why mourn the past when you can focus on the present? “The present” in question is a beautiful autumn day, which you are so lucky to experience. On that note, I’ll stop rambling.
9. “Cardigan” and “All Too Well” by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is to the music industry as fall is to the seasons. Both are essential and amazing. Out of all of her albums, “Folklore” definitely has the most songs to add to your autumn playlist. “Cardigan” in particular feels very autumnal to me. Maybe it’s the subject matter (cardigans), or maybe it’s the slow, dreamy tempo. Whatever the case, “Cardigan” deserves a spot in your playlist, one hundred percent. I’ll add “All Too Well” to any of my playlists, my autumn playlist being no exception. It has to be the 10 minute version, of course.
10. “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult
In my opinion, this one’s a no-brainer. No halloween playlist is complete without “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper.” It fits the halloween vibe to a T, as to be expected out of any song about the Grim Reaper. If the guitar solo at the end doesn’t convince you to add this, I don’t know what will.
Whether you’re into halloween hits or folksy singles, autumn is the time to pop in your AirPods. If you’re not into fall-themed music, just think: in a couple of months, you’ll get to crank your holiday faves.
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Hi everyone! My name is Jill, and I'm a senior at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. There, I'm studying creative writing and sociology, with plans to work in publishing. Aside from reading and writing, I enjoy traveling and practicing self-care. If you want to connect, follow my Instagram @jillschuck!