I saw a post recently on Simply Stated about Christmas music taking over this time of year. While I do enjoy holiday music more than I probably should (Wonderful Christmastime and Last Christmas are on top, with Dominick the Donkey close behind), I got to thinking about what makes music appropriate for the seasons. The problem with Christmas music is that after the New Year it hardly seems appropriate, but we have a loooong way to go before spring comes around. I think I’ll put together a winter playlist to get through those months.

In the meantime, while we still have a few weeks of autumn left, I started thinking about good fall music. While summer owns lazy, drawn out, folksy music, and winter seems to have a lock on crooners even after the holidays, autumn is harder to pin down. 

After some digging, however, I found really in-depth playlists on iTunes. Some of it’s a bit literal, even kinda hokey — Frank Sinatra’s “Autumn in New York” doesn’t really mesh well with “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” by the White Stripes. But a few of the songs are dead on, either through theme or tone.

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I picked through their selections and added my own to come up with this playlist, which will definitely be on my iPod over the weeks to come:

1. Pink Moon – Nick Drake

2. Nightswimming — R.E.M.

3. Who Knows Where the Time Goes? — Fairport Convention

4. Autumn Sweater – Yo La Tengo

5. Lonelily – Damien Rice

6. Harvest – Neil Young

7. Naked As We Came – Iron & Wine

8. Pale September – Fiona Apple

9. The Past and Pending – The Shins

10. September – Ryan Adams & The Cardinals

11. Changes – David Bowie

12. Harvest Moon — Neil Young

13. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season) — The Byrds

14. Sideways – Citizen Cope

15. The Little Acorn – Fruit Bats

16. Wish I Could – Norah Jones

After putting this together, I realize that autumn does have a distinct sound. It’s sort of mellow, low tempo, and very introspective. It seems like this is the time of year we get a bit down about summer being over and another year quickly disappearing behind us. It can be sad, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I chose “Wish I Could” as the last song, because any time I start navel gazing, I have to find a way out of it with something hopeful I can work toward.

And, well, even if my Autumn 08 playlist is a downer, at least it’s not Christmas music.

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