Essential Albums to Ring in Autumn


Bridget Nicolo, Staff Writer

Though the start of school brings stress for many, I fervently continue to defend the belief that autumn is the best season of the year: It’s a time of bonfires and new beginnings, of foliage and fleeces. The weather is perfectly in-between. And the music of the season is some of the best of the year. Warm basslines and ethereal acoustics perfectly compliment the coziness of fall time. Here is my definitive list of the best autumny albums to help you make the most of sweater season and forget about that biology assignment you’ve been putting off:

  • Blood on the Tracks–Bob Dylan
  1. Top track: “Idiot Wind”

If you’re starving for the ultimate album to soundtrack your autumn, look no further than Blood on the Tracks. The record, completed by Dylan’s notoriously raspy voice and an abundance of harmonica solos, is straight out of a movie. “Tangled Up In Blue” is the ride to school in the morning. “Simple Twist of Fate” is the walk home under the colored, crunchy-leafed trees. “You’re A Big Girl Now” is the sunset drive after practice. As always, Dylan brings the drama and the academia-esque poetry that pairs so perfectly together with autumn breezes and apple cider. 

  • Yankee Hotel Foxtrot–Wilco
    1. Top track: “War on War”

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco exudes an overcast October. Perfect for a road trip or two (or three or four), this record hits every mark. “Jesus, Etc” is the hit of the album and a certified crowd-pleaser. However, if you’re going to pick and choose songs from YHF, I urge you to listen to “Ashes of American Flags,” “War on War,” and “I’m the Man Who Loves You.” Overall, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is a masterpiece of an album, and it’s a beautiful coincidence that it complements the highs and lows of autumn so perfectly.

  • Sling–Clairo
    1. Top track: “Zinnias”

Though released at the height of the summer’s heatwave, Clairo’s second album, Sling, exudes an exclusively autumn-esque feel. There’s a good chance you’ve heard the album’s first single “Amoeba” and loved it; I assure you the rest of Sling’s songs are on the same level. So, if you’re looking for a more modern pick, I encourage you to give Sling a listen.

  • Self-titled–The Smiths
    1. Top track: “Reel Around the Fountain”

This angsty high-school autumn list would hardly be complete without a Smiths album. The group’s first, in my opinion, is the most autumny of them all. The record ranges from upbeat hits like “This Charming Man” to their trademark sad-British-boy breakup songs like “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle.” So, if you’re looking for Pretty in Pink alternative realness, The Smiths by The Smiths is the album for you.

  • Hejira–Joni Mitchell
    1. Top track: “Coyote”

We’re only in September, but Joni Mitchell’s Hejira is the perfect record for fall’s sweet slump between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Every song screams cozy autumn nights. Mitchell’s smooth and satisfying vocals, matched with her master songwriting, make for a work of art perfect for a candle or two. 

And…this list wouldn’t be complete without this set of essential autumn singles:

  • There She Goes–The La’s
  • Champagne Supernova–Oasis
  • Dylan Thomas–Better Oblivion Community Center (Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst!)
  • Ooh La La–Faces
  • Crash Into Me–Dave Matthews Band