Every year, autumn greets me with a strange mix of comfort and melancholy. Perhaps it's my October birthday, and with it the general reflection that comes with birthdays, the resistance to aging and the wistful nostalgia of my youth all rolled into one. Or perhaps it's just the dwindling hours of daylight that culminate with the days in which all of my daylight is spent in an office cubicle. The sun just rising as I walk into my office and setting before I exit in the evening.
The changing of the leaves while beautiful gives way to the starkness of naked trees. As the weather cools, and the daylight wanes I find myself listening to a fall soundtrack of sorts:
1. The Verve Pipe - Miles Away: Brian Vander Ark is a brilliant and underrated songwriter. There's a poignant vulnerability to this song. The music evokes overcast fall days with auburn leaves that haven't yet shed from their trees. ("Today was a strange day, I meant what I said, Today was the first day that I've looked ahead.")
2. Chroma Key - Another Permanent Address : There's a relaxed laidback vibe to this song wrapped around some rather melancholy lyrics about the end of a relationship. But it feels more like the end of a season. ("Always it's the same situation, it's got to be somebody's fault, But I never know what to do, so let's say we put the blame on you")
3. Gabriela Kulka - Space Dye Vest: Incidentally this song was written by Kevin Moore/Chroma Key and originally performed by Dream Theater. Ms. Kulka's vocal delivery has a haunting edge to it that was/is missing from James LaBrie's delivery on the Dream Theater original ("Love is an act of blood and I'm bleeding a pool in the shape of a heart, beauty projection in the reflection, always the worst place to start"). I can feel the leaves falling from the trees with each note.
4. Gotye - Hearts a Mess: I was only recently introduced to the delightful music of Wally De Backer. His music has a quality that makes it perfect driving music. This song in particular feels "right" for this season. ("Pick apart the pieces of your heart, let me peer inside, Let me in, where only your thoughts have been, let me occupy your mind, as you do mine")
5. Hunters & Collectors - True Believers: There's a muted trumpet that dances through this song like the lines on a highway on chilly fall drive. ("Let's go dancing in our Sunday clothes, let's raise a glass to the life we chose, can't believe after all these years, you're still laughing, it brings me to tears") This was H&C's final album and this song was their farewell to each other and their fans before going their seperate ways.
6. Poco - Indian Summer: Every fall there's that brief spell of summer weather before the temperatures drop and the leaves finish their exodus from the trees ("There's a full moon in the sky, it's got a hold on me, I'm hypnotized")
7. Neil Young - Harvest Moon: What Autumn playlist would be complete without either Harvest or Harvest Moon by Neil Young. Personally I prefer the latter but one or the other is an essential song for any soundtrack for Fall.
8. Chicago - Happy Cause I'm Goin' Home: A predominantly instrumental piece from their often overlooked 3rd album. There's a relaxed whimsy to the song.
9. Pat Dailey - Here In the North: Dailey is the Great Lakes answer to Jimmy Buffet. His songs vary from the melancholy style and nature of Gordon Lightfoot to the relaxed island whimsy of Buffet. ("Here in the north we're just further from the sun, but the geese still fly, and the rivers still run") Up until his death in 1999, Shel Silverstein wrote many of the lyrics for Dailey's songs.
10. Queen - Those Were the Days of Our Lives: One of the final songs Freddie Mercury recorded before his untimely death. ("Sometimes I get to feelin' like I was back in the old days, long ago, when we were kids, when we were young, things seemed so perfect, you know, the days were endless, we were crazy, we werew young, the sun was always shining, we just lived for fun, sometimes it seems like lately, I just don't know, the rest of my life's been just a show")
What does your Autumn soundtrack look like?