You know you’re heading into winter when you’re ACTIVELY fighting your end of year existential crisis while singing Christmas carols. Well, I just want to collect my hipster/trend predictor badge for calling out sad girl fall before everybody jumped in on it. Thaaaank you. There were so many great releases and interesting vibes this season and we gotta talk about it.

To wrap up fall 2021, we’re sharing some of the songs on our current playlists and thoughts on new releases from fall. And this time around you’ve got the whole SOUNDS LIKE FEELS LIKE council, so let’s dive in! 

Kelly’s Fall Highlights

Pretending — Orla Gartland

From the smoky brown eyeshadow I learned from a woman on the internet to being “so fucking self-aware it’s EXHAUSTING”, this song has basically been my main character song this season. I became a fan of Orla’s during the pandemic because she has the uncanny ability to shoot an arrow into my soul with her lyrics. This song captures the inner turmoil I’ve been dealing with since starting therapy this sad girl fall. I knew going to therapy had been long overdue but damn, I didn’t think it’d hit me this hard. I am “done pretending” to be ok with dismissing my needs though.

Picasso — 1990nowhere

I had the pleasure of meeting these guys after their first show ever as they opened for Bad Suns and Angels & Airwaves. This song was an immediate earworm for me with its fabulous 80s synths and that banging bass line. Lyrics-wise, let’s just say I’m a sucker for a song that lets me voice my people-pleasing, “I can fix this!!” toxicity in a catchy way. It might or might not sound like when I met my therapist and told her I wanted to fix my parents’ marriage oops lol. It’s bop-able indie rock at its finest. I can’t wait for y’all to hear more from them.

Final Girl — Chvrches

This is one of those “I would put the entire album here if I could” moments. I’ve never been a fan of horror movies but the vibes of Chvrches’s Screen Violence have been exactly what I’m looking for. The metaphor in this song of the final girl at the end of a horror movie is really poignant to me. When I look at myself in the mirror, stress pouring out of my frizzy hair after battling my inner demons for another day, I see that final girl—the one fighting for her life, for her future. The inner work is hard and that’s why I’ve felt so drained and tired lately. I love and appreciate that this song acknowledges that.

Come Down — .Anderson Paak

I am so late to the .Anderson Paak party but dang, it is better late than never. Like a lot of folks, I started paying attention to .Anderson Paak because of Silk Sonic. Speaking of which, “Smokin’ Out the Window” has STAYED on repeat lately and even though I’m angrily singing it as I vent out my pent up relational disappointment, I’m not mad about the fact that I can’t stop listening to that absolute banger. “Come Down” is a perfectly funky track with the same “I’m not taking anyone’s shit anymore” vibe as “Smokin’ Out the Window” and I love it. What I need all y’all to do is to watch his NPR Tiny Desk Concert because he MURDERS his entire set. So much talent, I’m glad he’s living his best life on the charts.

what doesn’t kill me — Kacey Musgraves

One of many breakup albums released this season, Kacey Musgraves’s star-crossed is one that I don’t want people to forget. I’ve obviously been listening to a lot of sad girl singer-songwriter music as I’ve been trying to make space for everything coming up from my therapy sessions. But this one has been reminding me that I will only be stronger by doing the work. It happily sits in my “songs that pull me out of sad girl fall” playlist. Some of my friends have already started to notice the changes and while it’s annoying to know that I’m never gonna be finished doing the work while I’m alive, it’s encouraging that I’ve already started to feel stronger.

**Just want to note that yes, I did listen to all of Red (Taylor’s Version). There were certain songs that got my attention this time around and hit me hard (Nothing New, Babe, Girl At Home) but others (namely Holy Ground, Stay Stay Stay, and Starlight) that still reminded me of a terrible crush I had like 6 years ago. So, I would like to file a restraining order against those songs because even if Taylor re-recorded it, I am still cringing every time I listen to those songs. Also, Adele—“My Little Love” shakes me to my core and the entirety of 30 is a masterpiece that you should absorb sitting near a fireplace with a blanket and a glass bottle of wine. Ok thank u.

Eden’s Fall Highlights

White Lie — The Lumineers

If you came here expecting some feel-good fall music recommendations, you might as well keep scrolling. Eeds’ Feed is in Sad Girl Fall mode, baby, and we’re diving right in. I have to admit that I stopped listening to the Lumineers a while ago, but they never completely fell off my radar. My boyfriend and I have pretty much exclusively been listening to a playlist called “Chill Indie” on Spotify (look it up), and this song came up. When I tell you my boyfriend audibly GASPED before screaming “I LOVE THIS SONG”… So with that said, I credit him fully for getting me back on the Lumineers train, with this song in particular front and center. In classic Lumineers fashion, this song has heart wrenchingly beautiful lyrics and a swelling chorus that you want to sing along to but you can’t because you’re too busy crying.

Calico — Haux

I discovered this song in the middle of an existential crisis last year, and I’ve carried it with me ever since. No but actually, I was having a really rough night, and in a fit of desperation, I decided to pull out a drawing pad and some watercolors and just paint. No vision, no direction, just me and my thoughts and the emotions I needed to release. For that, this song has always carried a complex, layered meaning for me. One that’s peaceful yet chaotic, relaxing yet mentally stimulating. Whenever I find myself in a creative rut (or any rut for that matter), I put this song on repeat and invariably find the freedom I’m craving. Something about the repetitiveness and simplicity of the song allows me to zone out while keeping my focus just enough to tap into my creativity. The more I describe it, the more it’s starting to sound like hypnosis.

Whispers — Vancouver Sleep Clinic

This song just FEELS like cold weather. I’m convinced that if you tried to play this song in the summertime, Spotify would just be like “We’ve encountered an error and need to shut down”. This is an ‘early morning fog’ kind of song. That being said, the lyrics are surprisingly empowering. “It’s worth too much to give it in / You gave it all for this.” Makes me feel like that emoji where the little guy is smiling but there’s a single tear coming down. The best way I can describe the song is this: If Twilight was made today, this song would 100% be on the soundtrack.

never mind, let’s break up — LANY

This is the one exception to the Sad Girl Fall theme. Sad Girl lyrics, maybe, but Sassy Girl sound. This song has been on repeat all season long, especially since I saw the band last month. There’s a part of me that will never ever grow out of my love for pop, and this song just scratches that itch. These lyrics just roll off the tongue in a way only LANY lyrics can. 

A closeness — Dermot Kennedy

I’ve loved Dermot Kennedy for a while now. The Irish singer-songwriter has completely blown up in the past few years, and it’s been such a privilege to watch him grow and evolve as an artist. This song comes from one of his earlier albums and lacks the higher production value and refined sound that his newer stuff is missing, and I love that. This song sounds so raw, as if he’s  right there in the room with you. Fall to me means a stripped-back, moody, slowly-building-in-intensity, Bon Iver-type beat. Dermot Kennedy gives us all that PLUS he does it all with his signature raspy voice (major heart eyes). If you’re going to listen to one song from my Fall playlist, let it be this one.

Joe’s Fall Highlights

Armada — Hans Zimmer (From Dune)

I went to see the movie Dune with my girlfriend about a month ago and it was super good, super cute, and honestly just glad to get back to the movie theater. I love movies and I love the movie theater experience. I love the big screen and how the sound reverberates in my chest. Above all though, I love the music. And folks, Hans Zimmer (the composer behind the movie soundtrack) KILLED it. This song from the movie honestly got me moving and grooving and doing my little dancy dance. It’s my favorite song from the movie and it’s not surprising at all that this whole score is nominated for a Grammy. Honestly, I think it’s Zimmer’s best work. 

Tannhauser: Pilgrims Chorus — Richard Wagner

Yes, I’m that one classical music nerd and I’m not afraid to show it! This piece comes from an opera by Wagner and we sang it in my choir class this semester at university and absolutely fell in love with it. I love the umpf that this piece has. I love its tenderness, but also its tragic sadness. The middle section is full of building chord progressions that cascade downwards (I know that’s a confusing sentence, but musically, it checks out (Winky emoji)). And don’t even get me started about that finale!! OMG, like seriously, hallelujah. I feel compelled to tears everytime I hear it and will never grow tired of hearing it.

Like a Circle — Ben Abraham

So I found this song on TikTok over the summer (I even duetted, find it here!) and I absolutely fell in love with it. First of all, I’m a giant gooey sucker for love songs. Deep down I’m a hopeless romantic and songs like this get me in touch with that side of myself. Also, Ben Abraham is the voice of my soul that I didn’t know existed. I love his voice, so tender yet so commanding. Truly one of those voices that captivates you with every word.

You’ll Be Ok — A Great Big World

 Y’all remember that one song with A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera that sent all the emos crying to sleep (BTW emos is me, I am emos)? Yeah so these folks have some other AMAZING songs on that album that are equally emotional. Namely this one here, “You’ll Be Ok”. As someone who is their own worst critic all the time, this song is so powerful. Just being able to get that reminder that I’m ok, wow, that peace just overwhelms me. This song definitely helps me do that and is a perfect study song going into finals, prepping for that big project, or when you’re taking a load off.   

Variants for Orchestra — J. A. J. Sedarski

Ok, shameless self-plug here. It might be weird to listen to your own music but I’m not gonna lie to you guys, I love this work of mine and it’s an absolute banger. Fun fact this piece was based off a piece that I wrote in 2015 originally for piano and has since been reworked for an ENTIRE ORCHESTRA! To me, that’s just so dang cool. I was talking to my mom about the piece and she remarked “I remember when you first started that piece on the piano! Look how far you’ve come!” and me being me said “Mom, didn’t you also tell me to stop playing that piece so much?” and I got the death stare. In any case, I love this piece. It’s about childhood, it’s about growth, and above all it’s about my everlasting love for music.

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