ACRN: Fall Faves

[Photo courtesy of Julia Weber]

By the ACRN Editorial Team

If you ask any member of the ACRN Editorial Team for fall song recommendations, you’ll receive no shortage of suggestions – so much so, in fact, that we had to split our list of fall faves in two to round them all up. If you haven’t already, you can read our first edition of our Fall Faves here, and you can listen to the compilation of songs on ACRN’s Spotify.

Sleeping Ute” by Grizzly Bear

There are few songs as transcendent and exhilarating as “Sleeping Ute”. Taken from the band’s fourth album Shields, the song is about the Ute Mountain Peaks in Colorado and being lost in the adventure of nature. Right from the opening lines of, “Dreamed a long day / Just wandering free,” vocalist Daniel Rossen tells the listener he’s on a journey that he’s only been able to imagine. The band keeps their typically elegant style, but never have they sounded this fired up before. Chris Bear’s drumming hits like a brisk afternoon’s wind, while the bouncy guitar hammer-ons pop out like the leaves rustling in the breeze. The star of the song is undoubtedly Rossen, who gives arguably his best vocal performance ever. Burning with passion and exuberance, lines like, “And those figures through the leaves / And that light through the smoke,” see Rossen painting the perfect picture for what an autumn’s morning in a mountainous forest top feels like. The instrumental constantly between this pastoral waltz rhythm and some noise rock influenced breakdowns. The track ends with a masterfully fingerpicked guitar outro and a final vocal passage from Rossen. It’s a truly thrilling song that encapsulates how beautiful and yet inclement the season can be.

  • Roman Salamone, Contributor

Night Crawler” by Judas Priest

My bias for British heavy metal continues with “Night Crawler” from Judas Priest’s 1990 album Painkiller, the best metal album of all time (yeah, I said it). The song is about the “nightcrawler”, which is a creature that essentially just runs around murdering people. The lyrics about, “Howling winds come screaming round as the rain comes pouring down” is perfect at setting the spooky atmosphere. The atmosphere is best shown in the spoken interlude after the solo. I love when Judas Priest does this, it’s great on songs like “The Sentinel” and it’s great here at setting this really ominous mood before the main riff comes back in to punch your teeth in. Priest’s dynamic guitar duo makes learning each part exciting and there are so many great rhythm lines just beyond the main riff. I love the riff behind the chorus especially and the way it moves with Rob Halford’s vocals. “Night Crawler” is a monster, both in its lyrics and in its instrumental and it’s a perfect creepy song to remind me why I love Judas Priest so much. 

  • Nicholas Kobe, Contributor

Open House” by Lou Reed and John Cale

“Open House” by The Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed and John Cale is a fantastic addition to any discussion of fall favorites. As the sun sets earlier each day, “Open House” is the gloomy but serene song for 6 p.m. walks around campus. Personally, it brings back memories of evenings at Donkey and mornings walking to class. The instrumentation of the song is incredibly minimal and simple while the lyrics are intricate and painstakingly specific. With lines like, “My skin’s as pale as the outdoors moon / my hair’s silver like a tiffany watch / I like lots of people around me, but don’t kiss hello / And please don’t touch,” “Open House” is a beautiful tribute to the most mundane and most life-altering aspects of life.

  • Julia Weber, Features Editor

Flavor of Pain” by Sun Boats

My fall song is “Flavor of Pain” by Sun Boats. Yeah I’m doing an Athens band’s original simply because of how phenomenal this song is. At this time of the year, I want to hear sad songs all the time and I know I’m not alone in that category.  The lyrics in this song are genius, and the harmonies Sun Boats lay down just float around the melody like fall leaves drifting down towards the earth. How’s that for a simile? Anyway, the fall season needs sad music and this’ll do for me. “Like a homicide we drew our chalk lines just to leave a trace,

Holding the truth between us lying face to face” I mean that’s a great line.

  • Paul Nern, News Editor

The View Between Villages” by Noah Kahan

Though Noah Kahan’s newest album was only recently released, several songs from it have become fast staples on my daily rotation this fall – as indie folk seems to be my consistent go-to genre for the season. “The View Between Villages” seeps homesickness, nostalgia, and grief; it embodies standing alone at the edge of where you came from and whatever great unknown lies ahead of you. Though it starts out with a simple sincerity, it quickly grows in intensity and passion as it almost effortlessly brings to mind the feeling of cold air in my lungs and the view of a changing landscape beneath me. Perhaps I’m biased towards darker-sounding music and autumn is my “angsty music” season, but it is such a period of natural change in the world that I do feel as though music that acknowledges such with a reflective eye is perfect for the season. This song, and honestly the rest of Stick Season is a great listen for anyone who’s grappling with big changes this season or feeling the nostalgic pang of homesickness a little more than usual as the days get shorter and the air turns bitter and cold.

  • Phoebe Giordano, Contributor

Into the Unknown” by The Blasting Company

The last pick I have for you is a little different in genre, but not very different in mood. “Intro the Unknown” by The Blasting Company is a cover for the song from Frozen 2, that’s the wrong season. Instead it is the opening theme to the 2014 Cartoon Network Mini-Series, Over the Garden Wall. Over the Garden Wall tells the story of Wirt (voiced by Elijah Wood) and Greg as they try to find their wall home in The Unknown, a strange other world. The show is ten episodes, with a total run time of an hour and a half is THE PERFECT fall watch. The whole series takes place in fall as it changes to winter. It is filled with everything imagery wise that you’d want from the season. Despite airing on Cartoon Network, the show is filled with a lot of really dark themes that perfectly balances the whimsy of the season with the dread and decay in a way that no other piece of media has. The whole soundtrack is fantastic, but this song’s lyrics of, “How the gentle wind beckons through the leaves as autumn colors fall” is exactly what plays in my head once the first leaf on the tree exposes it’s red hue. The song is relaxed and beautiful. It stands really nicely as a reflection of fall on its own, but also is a perfect opener to a great series.

  • Nicholas Kobe, Contributor

Space Age Love Song” by A Flock of Seagulls

Fall time is peak cuffing season and that means I am listening to lots of love songs. “Space Age Love Song” by A Flock of Seagulls is uplifting and inspiring during this cold season. When I listen to this song, my stomach is flooded with butterflies and I can recall the feeling of falling in love. Catching a stranger’s glance, perfectly timed smiles, and lots of crying are all a part of that experience. I feel transported back to memories in my life when I had these experiences in the fall. The fluffy vocals and drawn-out musical breaks instill a sense of longing that is perfect for FALL-ing in love.

  • Helena Karlstrom, Contributor

Never Love an Anchor” by The Crane Wives

Toeing the line between folksy fall and angsty winter music, I’ve decided that the album Coyote Stories by The Crane Wives has a distinctly November vibe. “Never Love an Anchor,” featured on the aforementioned album, weaves folklore through the rich harmonies, poetic lyrics, and instrumentation characteristic of the indie folk genre. Though it ultimately tells a story of desperation and resignation, there is a certain determination to the song that pushes it forward with a strong bass line and compelling acoustic accents. Reminiscent of aimless drives along rural roads when the fall winds make tornadoes of the colored leaves and your own introspections, “Never Love an Anchor” is an essential on any “crunchy” or folksy fall playlist.

  • Phoebe Giordano, Contributor

Via Chicago” by Wilco

Fall, for me, at least, means early sunsets and hours of darkness in the late afternoon and evening. I find it simultaneously comforting and nauseating. “Via Chicago” by Wilco is the perfect song to accompany that feeling. Specifically, their live rendition of the song on Kicking Television, Live in Chicago makes the perfect addition to any fall playlist. It’s cathartic and emotional. I’ve always loved this song, but when I saw Wilco perform it this summer, it solidified my love for it. There’s one part in particular that I’ve come to adore. In a song filled with chaos, the band comes together for a powerful moment in which Tweedy sings, “They rest my head on a pillowy star / And a cracked door moon / It says I haven’t gone too far.” It brings me to tears. For me, “Via Chicago” is reminiscent of drives that happen at 8 p.m. but feel like 1 a.m.

  • Julia Weber, Features Editor

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