Autumn music.
June 24, 2008 11:29 PM   Subscribe

What kind of music reminds you of autumn?

I've been trying to compile a list of "autumn" music, but I'm having a difficult time trying to figure out exactly what kind of music would give off autumn "vibes". What kind of music reminds you of autumn? I'm looking for anything; specific songs, genres, instruments, et cetera.

As for me, I've found that this song most personifies autumn, but that could just be because it was used for the autumn season in a video game I've played extensively, so I'm not sure if other people would be reminded of autumn, as well. Not sure exactly what style of music that is, but that's the kind of music that reminds me most of the season [as a side question, does anyone know what style of music that song is?]. (Hopefully, it's all right to post that -- the game never had a soundtrack release, so I figure it's all right).
posted by Dreamcast to Media & Arts (44 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Bluegrass, I'd say.
posted by crinklebat at 11:34 PM on June 24, 2008

1. The album "The Pearl" by Harold Budd and Brian Eno. Particularly "Lost in the Humming Air".
2. Vivaldi's Concerto No. 3 in F major, "Autumn" from the Four Seasons (obvious)
3. Will Ackerman's music.
posted by jjno at 11:46 PM on June 24, 2008

When I think of autumn, I think of leaves falling and crisp air. Delicate music with light acoustic instruments and pianos make me think of this. Andrew Bird's one example.
posted by katillathehun at 11:48 PM on June 24, 2008

The Spinanes, Palace Music/Will Oldham
posted by citron at 12:04 AM on June 25, 2008

d'oh - Yo La Tengo - Painful, I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One. "Autumn Sweater" especially, of course. The Velvet Underground.
posted by citron at 12:08 AM on June 25, 2008

Lots of Kinks stuff. "Autumn Almanac" is the obvious one, but I think "Waterloo Sunset" is even more autumnal(?). Also: Ben Folds Five (first two albums), Rock-a-Teens, Replacements. I guess it's unpolished, live-sounding recordings that give me the autumn feeling...
posted by equalpants at 12:24 AM on June 25, 2008

Melancholy, acoustic guitar, singer-songwriter music reminds me of autumn, although I'm not sure why. For instance, James Taylor is very "autumn" to me.
posted by amyms at 12:25 AM on June 25, 2008

The Autumn Defense are very ... well ... autumnal.
posted by mechrisd at 1:34 AM on June 25, 2008

I agree with amyms on James Taylor. Very strong in the autumn feel.

But for me Frank Sinatra in his Capitol years represents the essence of autumn:loss and transition, pure melancholy. Albums such as In the Wee Small Hours or Only the Lonely are pure autumn. And of course the essential "Autumn Leaves" is quintessentially autumn. Lots of You Tube examples available.

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold

posted by vac2003 at 2:16 AM on June 25, 2008

Pretty much anything by the Red House Painters/Mark Kozelek. And some Elliott Smith songs, particularly the earlier ones.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:31 AM on June 25, 2008

Jazz ("Autumn Leaves", etc) and music from the Peanuts specials.
posted by stavrogin at 2:44 AM on June 25, 2008

Autumn in New York?

There is also a fair amount of what my record shop calls Home Listening that fits the bill. Specifically Jules Marsden's Herbstlaub (which translates as 'Autumn Leaves') , there is also a vein of piano based recordings such as those by Library Tapes or Goldmund, — often incorporating acoustic intsruments, alongside electronic processing and field recordings, and sometimes seeming wrapped in static — that have a hazy, evocative quality that captures a wistful. melancholic sense of decay that seems distinctly autumnal.
posted by tallus at 3:55 AM on June 25, 2008

Neko Case, in particular Blacklisted and Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.
The Smiths.
posted by adipocere at 4:46 AM on June 25, 2008

Eva Cassidy.
posted by headnsouth at 5:30 AM on June 25, 2008

Autumn, by George Winston
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:30 AM on June 25, 2008

Killing the Blues by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss starts uses autumn-specific imagery. The languid pace and steel guitar add to the autumn feel.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 5:33 AM on June 25, 2008

Death Cab for Cutie's Plans album never fails to remind me of autumn, especially the song "Summer Skin" (title notwithstanding).
posted by anthom at 6:03 AM on June 25, 2008

Some of Duke Ellington's more laid back pieces do this for me. Black Beauty, especially.
posted by twirlypen at 6:11 AM on June 25, 2008

I think of 1970's era Roxy Music: Ornate and overt, wild and lavish...But somber, too. A dying dragonfly.
posted by applemeat at 6:26 AM on June 25, 2008

The Secret Commonwealth are a long laboring Nashville celtic band with lots of songs about autumn or evoking autumn.

Specifically: Scarecrow Walkin, Autumn Wind, Frost on the Pumpkin, and Samhein Feis. (You can listed to some of these on their MySpace page).
posted by kimdog at 6:35 AM on June 25, 2008

For me, David Sylvian is the quintessential "Autumn" artist.

Gone to Earth
Secrets of the Beehive
posted by davebush at 6:45 AM on June 25, 2008

On you can explore by mood, including "autumnal".
posted by dino terror at 7:01 AM on June 25, 2008

Nick Drake.
posted by newmoistness at 7:25 AM on June 25, 2008

I think answers are likely to be polluted with subjectivity given that the music that reminds someone of autumn is likely random and has to do with nostalgic associations at the subconscious feeling level. Like, why is CSNY's "Wasted On The Way" an autumn song for me? I don't know, but it is. Feels autumny to me, probably due to when I heard it as a kid, when it was already an oldie, or some other association I unconsciously made. Turn! Turn! Turn! by the Byrds is another that sort of feels that way for me, but might be disqualified because it's specifically about seasons. Guitarry songs of a certain sort make me think about leaves dropping and all the fallen ones blowing on the ground and that quiet feel of fall outdoors when the air is crisp. Songs about letting go and moving on might be thematically tied to autumn because of what's happening in nature and in life. I remember as a kid how there was always a feeling of loss and of time passing each autumn as the wonderful summer died and you started a new grade at school and plants started to go to sleep. The song "Summertime" by the Sundays always reminds me of the dying days of summer and the beginning of fall, for example, I guess because it has a blatant name-drop and because that's the season when I was listening to it and I was feeling summer slip away. The Allman Brothers "Little Martha" is this way for me, whereas much of their other stuff is summery for me. Smashing Pumpkins "1979" is this way for me. It was released in winter and I guess that's when I heard it, but feels autumny to me. Several quieter Smashing Pumpkins songs feel the same way to me.
posted by Askr at 7:55 AM on June 25, 2008

Bob Mould
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 7:56 AM on June 25, 2008

When I think of Autumn, I think of a lot of the emo I used to listen to in the nineties -- rascally youths experiencing melancholia. Songs not concerned with death or despair, really, just the slow-burn sadness of growing from a child into an adult.

So I recommend the album "Analphabetapolothology," by Cap'n Jazz. I just put their song "Little League" on the mix I made for the MeFt Mix-CD swap!
posted by Greg Nog at 7:57 AM on June 25, 2008

Jens Lekman - "Maple Leaves" ("It's autumn in Gothenburg / I'm walking home to my suburb...")
Yo La Tengo - "Autumn Sweater"
Sea and Cake - "Sporting Life"
Eluvium - "Radio Ballet"
posted by naju at 8:27 AM on June 25, 2008

Iron & Wine and Beirut remind me of late summer/autumn. I associate autumn with nostalgia (summer ending) and warm, rich tones (real instruments/guitars and not cold electric ones. Probably because I also associate the fall with soup and sweaters and rainboots and all good, simple, homey things.) Beirut has an Eastern European feel that reminds me of cold weather.

I also nth Andrew Bird.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:33 AM on June 25, 2008

Autumn has several different emotional qualities for me, so the music is different depending on the aspect of Autumn for which you looking. For that looking back over the year at the end of the summer feeling, I love The Mountain Goats “The Sunset Tree”. Autumn was always a time for apple festivals and harvest celebrations in my childhood so things with a country/folk flair always put me in the autumn mood, Iron & Wine/ Calexico’s “In the Reins” is one of my favorites, I also really like My Morning Jacket’s “At Dawn”. For that feeling of the fleeting beauty of the season that is no longer the heat of summer and not quite yet the cold of winter, I love “Memory of Trees” by Enya. For some reason trip-hop/electronica like Portishead’s self titled album and Halou’s “Wholeness and Separation” also puts me in that frame of mind.
posted by Palmcorder Yajna at 8:40 AM on June 25, 2008

posted by aubilenon at 9:04 AM on June 25, 2008

I have an autumn playlist on iTunes (at home) - wish I could remember it. AS others have agreed, what I think of as autumn songs have the following characteristics:

-slow tempo
-rich, mellow acoustic sounds from strings (guitar, cello, violin)
-some minor keys and darker moods
-thoughtful and clear lyrics, often referencing the passage of time or parting (as an end-of-summer sort of thing)

The playlist was built around Tom Rush's studio version of Urge for Going - here's a live version. There is some old David Mallett on the list too. Who Knows Where the Time Goes is on it (Eva Cassidy does a great version of this song!)

I agree that the choices are fairly subjective, but at the same time, a lot of us will share cultural associations of certain types of musical expression with certain seasons. Those associations have been built over a lifetime, and have pretty deep roots tied to the agricultural calendar and the sorts of moods and sounds associated with harvest and changing weather. Then we reinforce that with education and tying songs together seasonally in music classes. So it's not a complete coincidence that not only can just about everyone name a few songs that feel like "autumn" to them, but that you can identify many common elements among the songs nominated in this thread.
posted by Miko at 9:07 AM on June 25, 2008

Mary Timony's Mountains always has a haunted, crisp nights and cloudy days feel to me. But I will allow I first heard it in October and so the association has forever been cemented for me.
posted by darksong at 9:30 AM on June 25, 2008

Any Barry Manilow or Neil Diamond. No, I'm not kidding.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 9:33 AM on June 25, 2008

Bela Fleck always does it for me
posted by np312 at 10:17 AM on June 25, 2008

Van Morrison - Moondance
posted by candyland at 11:00 AM on June 25, 2008

Seconding "Turn! Turn! Turn!" even with the implicit seasonal reference. Simon and Garfunkel are autumn-y to me, especially "Scarborough Fair/Canticle," "America," "Kathy's Song." Also the soundtrack to "O Brother! Where Art Thou" and bluegrass and mountain and folk music in general.
posted by notashroom at 12:48 PM on June 25, 2008

Van Morrison:

When the Leaves Come Falling Down
Meet Me in the Indian Summer
In the Afternoon (not so autumny... but autumn love-affair-y)
posted by Incognita at 4:38 PM on June 25, 2008

Van Morrison's song is "Celtic New Year," not "Meet Me in the Indian Summer," but I agree it's very autumnal!

Seconding Nick Drake, Iron & Wine, and Will Oldham/Bonnie Prince Billy.

Simon and Garfunkel,
...oh, they've already been mentioned too.
Well, I'd say particularly "Only Living Boy in New York," "Homeward Bound," and "Song for the Asking."

Joan Baez, "Diamonds and Rust."
posted by hippugeek at 5:34 PM on June 25, 2008

Oh, and Jim Croce: Time in a Bottle, Photographs and Memories, New York's Not My Home.
posted by hippugeek at 5:39 PM on June 25, 2008

REM: Automatic for the People
posted by billtron at 9:24 PM on June 25, 2008

Combed my collection for randomly autumn-associated songs.

Here's a song that's either dying summer or autumn. Damn it, it's dying summer. What's with me and this dying summer thing? Why can I think of no other time? May need to explore this. Anyway, it's lovely. The Beautiful South by Aussie group Eva Trout. I wish this girl had more eyebrows.

Speaking of the Beautiful South. Here's the Beautiful South with Old Red Eyes Is Back. Good song, lame vid.

For happier autumn, there's Driving Of The Year Nail by Leo Kottke. Can't find the original but this kid is great. Covering Kottke is like super hard. This is more that countryside autumn before stuff has died and it's a sunny Saturday driving out somewhere. There is a whole genre of stuff like this, not always so fast, that gives me the happy leaf changing Saturday feel.

Here's another cheater since it mentions seasons, but this has always felt so so so like autumn to me. Don Henley - Boys of Summer. Oh who am I kidding. It's death of summer.

Blink 182 - Stay Together For The Kids
. Loss.

Gerry Rafferty - Right Down The Line and Baker Street. More 70's associations. Was it always autumn in the 70s? All I know is I had this green and yellow turtleneck and blue corduroys I always wore. Some of that harmonizing sounds CSNish. So there's a theme tie-in. Look at that awful hair!

GooGoo Dolls - Name. It's that guitar. And some lossy feeling. And that I was listening to it in autumn after graduating from college and moving on. So is it just me or is it that way objectively?

Housemartins - Five Get Over Excited. Acoustic guitar and subtle harmonizing. There it is again. I can see the faded sunlight and coats.

Oooh here's one. Keane - Somewhere Only We Know. So rich (and lossy).

Morrissey - Hairdresser On Fire. Not sure why. Just sounds that way.

New Order - Ceremony. It was on the tape player during high school art class. School year... autumn.... And the guitars for some reason.

Can't tell if this one is autumn or winter or nothing. Peter Bjorn & John - Young Folks. It has a bleakness that lends itself to quiet and fading.

OMG How could I forget this one. Dream Academy - Life In A Northern Town. This is the ultimate autumn-feeling song for me despite some winter clues in the video. Interestingly, here's a song that samples it and makes it happier and a bit more summery with some steel drums.

REM - Half A World Away
- College, new school year, nights getting colder

Smashing Pumpkins - 1979

World Party - Put The Message In A Box

Faces - Ooh La La

Cinderella - Coming Home. Hey don't laugh - you know you love that hair.

Doobie Brothers - Listen To The Music. It's the guitars, banjo, and harmonizing.

Fleetwood Mac - Go Your Own Way

Bob Seger - Against The Wind. It was in Forrest Gump in the running scene (loss, moving on). Might even have been in autumn.

Tom Petty - Learning To Fly and Wildflowers. The guitars and tone.

And lastly, don't forget this fall harvest gem! ha ha ha ha ha!
posted by Askr at 11:00 PM on June 25, 2008 [2 favorites]

I actually have an autumn playlist on my iPod. It's filled with melancholy, bittersweet songs; some have sentimental value or remind me of a particular autumn, but they all have the same vibe. Here's what's on it:

The Birds are Leaving - Boo Hewerdine
Prince Valiant - Joe Pernice
Place to Be - Nick Drake
Down Here - Lori Carson
High and Dry - Radiohead
The Last Beat of My Heart - Siouxsie & the Banshees
Sunrise - Pulp
Falling - Kate Rusby
Sweetness Follows - R.E.M.
Washing of the Water - Peter Gabriel
If These Walls Could Speak - Amy Grant
Waiting for My Real Life to Begin - Colin Hay
October - U2
Have a Little Faith in Me - John Hiatt
From the Morning - Nick Drake
posted by adverb at 6:29 AM on June 27, 2008

A touch late now but for posterity's sake,

Johannes Brahms' Clarinet Quintet
posted by Gyan at 4:44 AM on April 7, 2009

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