Wow, I can’t believe we’re so close to the end of 2022. This season has been wild in the best way. What started off with me in a weird headspace at the end of the summer has left me feeling the best I’ve felt in a long time and making literal dreams come true.

To wrap up Fall 2022, I’m sharing some of the songs on my playlist and thoughts on new releases from the season. Stick around for the full playlist.

Fall felt a little like driving up, down, and around a mountain — a laborious grind at first but then a joyride of twists and turns. Things were chaotic in the summer and it felt like I was headed for more chaos in the fall. But I’m glad I took a breather in the first week of October to reset before things got really crazy. It’s as if I realized how hard I was working and decided it was time that I played hard too. So, I went to lots of concerts, met a lot of new people, became friends with my new favorite band, and met one of the ultimate loves of my life, Joe Jonas, to cap it all off. I gotta tell y’all, I’ve been waiting for this. As a result, this Fall 2022 soundtrack is pretty iconic if you ask me.

Someone please frame this for me.

Highlights

phases by Maggie Lindemann

“You only love me when you feel like it, I don’t think love’s supposed to feel like this…”

As I started to acknowledge my inner teenager by sitting with Maggie Lindemann’s music, I found myself really thinking about the ways I definitely denied myself of things I actually wanted and needed. One consistent theme I’ll talk about here has to do with a romantic interest that had sprung up in summer. I was so excited to invest in getting to know this person and he (for a time) was really invested in me. But as autumn got busy, I started noticing how I was clouding my own perception of reality. This song cut me to the bone when I sat with the feeling of rejection that I attempted to ignore. So yeah, that wasn’t fun.

How To Be Happy by Rachel Blue

“I wanna be just like you, teach me how to be happy…”

My coworker Rachel shared a new song she released at the beginning of the fall and I quickly latched onto it. It helped me make sense of the weirdness I felt at the beginning of the fall. In a few ways, I felt myself almost forcing myself to be content, wondering if I really should be faking it til I make it. Amidst turmoil at work and having to get used to a lot of change really quickly, I buckled down and focused on getting shit done. I thought to myself “the clarity and the fun will return soon.” This song really captures that longing for contentment.

Water (feat. Rostam) by Ra Ra Riot

“So I crawled out of the back door, took off all these tight clothes, jumped into the water…”

I was really hungry for some indie rock music in early fall and found myself giving a good listen to Ra Ra Riot’s Water album. The themes of wanting to start living anew really resonated with me as I fought the chaos of work and feeling like I wasn’t living life the way I needed to. This song feels baptismal, as if I have space to reflect and then dive into how I’m really feeling. I just love the simplicity of the pre-chorus too: “don’t, don’t punish me for what I feel.” That was written exactly for inner teenager Kelly.

Apollo by Last Dinosaurs

“Oh I’m ready to be somebody else. I’ll forget how to feel the things I’ve felt…”

I was OBSESSED with this song all autumn. Last Dinosaurs opened for Bad Suns on their fall tour and I’m so glad I gave their discography an intentional listen before the show. This song has come to be an anthem for me realizing I’ve been freed from some cycles in therapy. Like phew, Fall 2021 Kelly feels like a totally different person. It’s been a long road of Friday therapy sessions this past year and I’m proud to say that I feel like I’ve finally gotten to a healthy place. Like, I’m actually having my last session with my therapist today. With new emotional regulation tools in tow, I feel like I’ve finally stepped into a phase in my life where it’s full speed ahead to a new way to live. Truly I’m ready to be somebody else.

Human Being by Arkells feat. Lights

“I wanna hear new songs, I wanna meet new people and move on if it don’t move the needle…”

I love just about everything Lights does, so when I found this song, I immediately added it to my playlist. I used to get really hung up on getting people to like me without stopping to think if I even liked them. This song helped me take a beat and ask myself that question. Truth is, sometimes you meet really cool people but your paths never cross again. Other times, you meet people you don’t vibe with and you have a choice of whether or not to continue investing in that friendship. If there was a mantra for this period of my life, it’d be the highlighted lyrics here. I’m allowed to vibe with who I wanna vibe with, ya know?

On My Way by Mayyadda

“I’m not here to save you, that’s between you and your Maker…”

I came across Mayyadda’s music through an Instagram reel of her singing her song “RIP Captain Save-a-Heaux”. Which like, what a way to immediately call me out haha. I felt seen with her lyrics and decided to check out her music. I really gravitated towards this song as a way to validate me in setting boundaries and making decisions that are more beneficial for me. Also, the lyric I highlighted really captures the essence of how I am not letting myself get into the savior role anymore.

Mess by Samantha Stone

“Pero no lo se, what happens next, I’m such a mess…”

Samantha connected with me via the blog Instagram a while ago and I was excited to hear the bilingual pop punk music she was working on. She released this song this fall and it honestly sounds my Spanglish brain. Just because my inner dialogue has gotten kinder doesn’t mean I still don’t call myself a mess sometimes. I think that’s pretty normal. Anyway, keep an eye out for her music, she’s onto something.

Blue Copper by Quarters of Change

“And how could you kill Saint lover, my pride…”

Quarters of Change also opened for Bad Suns and I’m beyond glad I also gave their music an intentional listen before the show. I spent a lot of time listening to their songs before the show and was really impressed by the way they jam. I told you, I was looking for damn good indie rock music and boy I’m glad I found it in these guys. Their album Into the Rift (Deluxe) was a favorite this season. I just love this song, not sure what my point of deep emotional relation is lol.

FEATHEREN by EDYN

“Transform the meaning that’s how you win the fight…”

I am absolutely not exaggerating when I say that my coworkers are super talented. My coworker Maggie’s psychedelic soul band is such a vibe. They released this song and I was immediately in awe of the way they transport you into a world of ethereal sound. They also released a jam called “The Magician” and seriously, you need to listen to it.

Commotion by Young the Giant

“I’m only happy when I’m looking in…”

American Bollywood is a masterpiece album and it deserves a huge spotlight on it. I really gotta talk about how much I love and am in awe of Young the Giant’s artistry in a separate post. The storytelling in their latest album is just incredible, not to mention the innovative ways they incorporate Indian music into their indie rock sound. I have to specifically talk about this song for the vocal performances. Sameer Gadhia is probably one of my favorite vocalists ever and I just love how they set up the most gorgeous harmonies I’ve heard in a while in this song. I legit get chills every time I listen to it. Do not sleep on American Bollywood by Young the Giant, give it a full undisturbed listen.

Suburbia by Tove Lo

“No I don’t want suburbia, I don’t need routines and lies…”

I’ve said this before but not publicly: I want to be as uninhibited as Tove Lo. Not only does she make kickass pop music, but she stands for pursuing freedom in her relationships and that’s why this song feels so poignant to me. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not particularly jazzed about the idea of having kids and it’s refreshing to hear someone sing about a lot of the fears I have around living a stereotypical suburban life. This feels like a real vulnerable love song as she expresses her fears that her partner would love her possible baby more than her. I just love her for being so open.

Home By Now by MUNA

“These are the kinds of questions to which I resign my rights ever since I decided there were things that I needed that you couldn’t give to me…”

This one snuck up on me but I saw it coming. And that’s why it kinda hurts to talk about. As I mentioned, I had met someone really special in a strike of summer lightning and was excited to see a relationship blossom. But overtime, the reality set in and I realized investing in it wasn’t worth my peace. And honestly, he wasn’t gonna be the guy I needed to truly support and understand me. In a truly musical theatre way, it all boiled down to the fact that as much as he wanted LA to be his home, it just wasn’t yet. Thank God I got to see MUNA in late October to scream to this song cathartically.

Bejeweled by Taylor Swift

“And when I meet the band, they ask ‘do you have a man?’ I can still say I don’t remember…”

Ok controversy time: I didn’t latch onto Midnights like I thought I would. There’s a few songs I’ve enjoyed but overall, I haven’t been feeling it. However, for every album Taylor releases, there’s always one song — as cheesy as this one feels — that I latch onto. This is it for Midnights. This song took the sadness I was feeling with “Home By Now” by MUNA and made me realize, ‘why am I letting some random dude I don’t even know dull my shine?’ I appreciate the way this song celebrates the idea of reminding yourself you have intrinsic value outside of how someone treats you. Also life is too short to not hang with and flirt with rockstars. It’s definitely too short to not kiss one on the cheek after a really good night.

Like She Does by Never Ending Fall

“Now I finally think I understand how she do me like she does…”

Speaking of rockstars, let Fall 2022 be remembered for the way I fell head over heels for Never Ending Fall. Yeah, a lot of falling happening here lol. What can I say? I’m a clumsy gal. This became my most listened to song of the season and reminded me that the time to have fun is now. It really hit me that I needed to make up for lost time in the pandemic by going out and just meeting people and I’m beyond glad to have done it. And now I high key feel like I’m living the way I’ve always wanted to. I mean, I literally have friends all over the country now that I can go visit. Not to mention musician pals that I can show off my hometown to.

C’est La Vie by Yung Gravy ft. bbno$ and Rich Brian

“Let me live my life, baby, c’est la vie…”

Dammit, Yung Gravy is a good ass time. I gave his new album a listen when it came out and I had so much fun listening to it. I also love Rich Brian and bbno$ so seeing the three of them collab meant I was gonna bop along to the most ridiculous lyrics I’ve ever heard. And I can’t tell you how much I love that. Extra points to Gravy for the way he made Rick Astley’s “whoooaaah” a recurring motif in the album. I can’t with him, who thinks of shit like this.

Shirt by SZA

“In the dark right now, feeling lost, but I like it…”

SZA’s album just came out last week and believe me when I say I’m sitting with it and will need to give it its own post next year. I am IN AWE of her. But this song specifically — I’d been waiting two years to listen to it in full so I was pumped when she released it ahead of the album. I remember when a clip of her in the studio singing this song went viral on TikTok and I legit got angry that it wasn’t out yet. Needless to say, I’m so glad it’s out and I am vibing hard to it. She’s a genius and I need her label to stop gatekeeping.

Cognitive Dissonance by Sophie Holohan

“Maybe I’m missing it, bliss is just ignorance, cloaked as indifference…”

This song really hit me. I’ve been in a sort of re-prioritization in my faith and social circles where I am not solely relying on my church community for a sense of belonging anymore. A big part of the way I’ve distanced myself has been related to cognitive dissonance. I remember talking to my dear friend Maddy about how it feels isolating at times to have differing opinions from people you’re supposed to “do life with.” And it extends from weighty controversial topics to simple things as types of conversations I can have with folks. The cognitive dissonance is me reasoning that I should be in community to support my spiritual growth but that I open myself to feeling misunderstood while being fully honest, so then I end up feeling paralyzed. On a songwriting note, I love the clever thought behind the chorus so much. It’s so simple but so effective at illustrating the anxiety of having cognitive dissonance.

Catch Me In The Air by Rina Sawayama

“But mama, look at us now, high above the clouds. Yeah, I hope that you’re, hope that you’re proud…”

Rina Sawayama’s album Hold The Girl made me absolutely sob the first time I heard it all the way through. Somehow, she captured every feeling I’ve been through since really investing in therapy the past year. In so many ways, it broke my heart to realize through her album how much I needed to still hold the girl — the anxious Catholic schoolgirl me AND the rebellious teenager I never got to be. The album gave me space to validate my feelings and say to myself that sometimes what might look like rebellion is what’s needed to learn my lesson. This song specifically helped me celebrate the reparenting I’ve done that led up to me meeting my childhood idol/crush/muse/love of my life Joe Jonas. The little girl in me is proud of me today for telling him that he’s the reason I even got into playing guitar and writing songs.

Mundane by Hardcastle

“But I just wanna be out of my head, out of my head…”

Hardcastle opened for Never Ending Fall when I saw them in LA and I loved their set. As a chronic overthinker, this song hit me hard when I went back and tried to find the songs I heard in their set. Again, I’m glad my prayer for new damn good indie rock music was answered. They make the type of music I’d love to hear before a Bad Suns show…so I hope they get to open for them soon.

I’m Not Perfect (But I’m Trying) by Rachel Chinouriri

“I’m not perfect, but I’m trying. Pick my moment then I’ll dive in…”

Rachel’s done it again. If there’s one way I’ve practiced grace with myself in this season it’s been reminding myself what Rachel sings about here. As I’ve been prioritizing my needs and learning to truly care for myself emotionally and physically, I’ve needed to give myself space to acknowledge the ways I still speak unkindly to myself. I used to be a huge perfectionist and there’s still remnants of that harsh perspective I used to take with myself. Just because my routines aren’t 100% healthy yet, I’m trying and that’s worth something to me.

Albums you gotta listen to: Hold the Girl by Rina Sawayama, <COPINGMECHANISM> by WILLOW, American Bollywood by Young the Giant, Dirt Femme by Tove Lo, Being Funny in a Foreign Language by The 1975, The Loneliest Time by Carly Rae Jepsen, Marvelous by Yung Gravy, Into The Rift (Deluxe) by Quarters of Change, SOS by SZA

At the end of the summer, I said I was adamant about having a hot girl fall 2022. And boy did I ever. Although I’m navigating a few different tensions, I know they’re leading to big things happening and I realize I just have to faithful and patient in them. We are so close to the end of the year but I gotta say, I’m on track to ending on a really sweet note. And I couldn’t be more thankful for it. See you at the end of the year for my album of the year reflection. Can’t wait for you to read it, you already know whose album I’m talking about.

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