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COLUMN: Your October Playlist: 10 spooky season song recommendations



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Taylor Swift arrives for the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 5, 2020, at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Tribune News Service

There’s only 15 days left in October, which means you’ve been through a lot. Midterms, homework, technological difficulties and, for those of us who’ve been contact-traced or sick with COVID-19, a couple weeks of quarantine here and there.

It’s been one of the most difficult years ever, and saying so doesn’t feel at all like a matter of opinion. Regardless, the best time of year is upon us, and we deserve to enjoy it. Campus looks beautiful, pumpkin flavoring is turning up regularly in pastries and Halloween is fast approaching. Best of all, there’s plenty of great music out there to help us celebrate. 

To spice up your playlists or revisit a few old favorites, keep reading for 10 songs to see you through the rest of October:

“warm glow” — Hippo Campus

Though the lyrics in “warm glow” might suggest a summertime song, it feels like that transitory space in September where the sun burns hot but the leaves get crunchier each day. Ethereal swells and laid-back lyrics feed off each other to create six minutes of pure, end-of-summer contentment.

“we fell in love in october” — girl in red

An energetic ode to October, this popular girl in red track is the ultimate fall love song. The lyrics are simple, straightforward and very, very cute, and swooping pitch flares sound the way warm flashes of autumn sunlight feel when they hit your chilly cheeks.

“1980s Horror Film II” — Wallows

It’s up to you whether you prefer the original, but this updated version definitely packs more of a punch. The title is delightfully on theme for the spookiest month of the year – but for something even more on the nose, take a listen to another Wallows track titled “Drunk on Halloween.”

“Back to Autumn” — Tall Heights

This song smells like pumpkin spice, tastes like apple cider, feels like crisp air on your face and looks like driving past the unforgettable red and yellow Brown County trees. Accentuated by mellow vocals and folksy influences, it might just be, in the best way possible, the most aggressively autumnal song you’ll ever encounter.

“cardigan” — Taylor Swift

“Cardigan” is not quite as cozy as the title suggests. While Swift’s soothing vocals and relaxed guitar lines might feel like the warmth of a bonfire, the song’s eerie, repeating piano riff and minor key feel like goosebumps on the back of your neck after the embers burn out.

“Pumpkin” — The Regrettes

“Pumpkin” is the spunky, danceable song you’ve been looking for. It’s the sound of falling in love, made possible by bouncy bass and bright guitar strums. 

“Halloween” — Phoebe Bridgers

Sometimes real things are scarier than vampires or mummies, like the death of a relationship you’ve tried everything to resurrect. In a haunting, whisper-soft voice, Bridgers begs her lover on Halloween, the night of fantasy, to just pretend they’re going to make it.

“Apple Eyes” — Porsh Bet$

“Apple Eyes” should give you a bounce in your step as you walk to whatever in-person classes you may or may not have. Lovey lyrics radiate good vibes while the beat, vocals and guitar feel exactly as crisp as the fruit this two-minute track is named for.

“Autumn Leaves” — Ed Sheeran

This one almost feels too obvious, but no autumn is complete without a listen to this fan favorite. It’s soft, it’s sweet, it’s warm – like if the particles of a thick cable-knit sweater reassembled into auditory form.

“Hazel” — Roy Blair

“Hazel” is perfect for all who find themselves fiercely nostalgic every year when fall comes around. Roy Blair looks back on life and childhood on this track, all while leaning into dramatic instrumental shifts reminiscent of the sudden, beautiful color change in autumn leaves.

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