Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Fall 2018 Playlist: Annotated

Fall's a good time for most things, and music is no exception. I just wish the season would last longer! Especially in Chicago, the crisp air and changing leaves are all too fleeting. Speaking of which, I need to buy a new winter coat.

Let's celebrate Fall while we can, shall we? This playlist should help.

1) "Cutting Shapes," Girl Ray: Girl Ray's another winner from one of my Discover Weekly playlists—thanks, Spotify! If you wish Nico and Belle & Sebastian were the same band, good news—Girl Ray fits the bill. I could have put about a million songs from their Earl Grey album on this playlist.
2) "If You Really Love Nothing," Interpol: When I noticed Interpol was playing Riot Fest this year, I was excited to see them solely for the nostalgia factor. But if I were in a band, I would hate it if nobody listened to my new stuff—so I gave their 2018 album Marauder a spin. And it's surprisingly good! Especially the first half. This song is the album opener, in fact.
3) "Big God," Florence + The Machine: The album High as Hope came out in June, and ever since I have been waiting eagerly for Fall so I could put this song on the playlist. It's Florence at their best—powerful, majestic, a little scary.
4) "seedless," serpentwithfeet: I was *psyched* that serpentwithfeet released a new album this summer—it was a good summer for new albums in general, actually. Anyway, I've never heard another artist like serpentwithfeet. It's...male Björk opera hip-hop? It's wonderful.
5) "Borders," St. Beauty: This duo opened for Janelle Monáe when I saw her at the Chicago Theatre a few months ago, and I was immediately impressed with them. You should listen to their whole album, but this song is a good start.
6) "Hangout at the Gallows," Father John Misty: When I heard this song, my first reaction was somebody's been listening to George Harrison's solo stuff lately. Definitely has a vintage sound, the melody is killer. That chorus—gets me every time. When he performed it at Riot Fest I literally stopped breathing for a few seconds.
7) "Mariners Apartment Complex," Lana Del Rey: Lana Del Rey could write the same song over and over again and I'd listen to it every time. I get her vibe, or her vibe gets me—when I was doing that internship in L.A. I especially understood. It's West Coast music. I was pleased to see she dropped new autumn-appropriate music right before I started making this playlist.
8) "Don't Judge Me," Janelle Monáe: Dirty Computer is one of the greatest albums of all time and there will be one song from it on each of my playlists this year—I already have it planned out. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't expose as many people to Ms. Monáe as possible. She's literally perfect. This song is chill and also pretty. You'll like it.
9) "Right Down the Line," Lucius: I wasn't as into the latest Lucius album as I hoped I'd be—but I was really into this cover of a 1978 Gerry Rafferty song.
10) "Almost Every Door," Mountain Goats: Am I going to put a Mountain Goats song on every seasonal playlist I ever make? Probably. They snuck up on me. I'd always listened to them casually and then one day they were one of my favorite bands. This song is off their very recently released Hex of Infinite Binding EP.
11) "Let it Down (original version)," George Harrison: Father John Misty's new George Harrison-esque song got me listening to George Harrison again. What can I say? He's the thinking person's Beatle.
12) "65th and Ingleside," Chance the Rapper: New Chance! Always a good thing. This song is sort of the oddball among the four singles he recently released, but I like it. I like oddballs. It was also needed for the tricky folk-to-hip-hop/soul transition the playlist was making here.
13) "I Never Loved a Man [The Way I Loved You]," Aretha Franklin: We lost one of the greats. Had to honor her. What a voice.
14) "Self," Noname: If you're not listening to Noname's new album Room 25, you're doing life wrong. It's so so so so good. I was reluctant to add this specific song at first, just because it's so short—but it's one of my favorites, and it definitely works with fall weather.
15) "(I'm Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear," Blondie: I finally got to see Blondie at Riot Fest and Debbie Harry was perfect and I love her and it was freaking awesome and ohmigod.
16) "How Simple," Hop Along: Frances Quinlan is the lead singer of this Philadelphia-based band, and while their songs are good in general, her unusual voice is really what makes them great. I've put them on my playlists before. I would recommend listening to their entire catalog.
17) "Lonesome Love," Mitski: Another fantastic album that dropped this summer! Am I the only one who thinks Mitski often out-St.-Vincents St. Vincent? I could have added lots of songs from Be the Cowboy to the playlist—it's very autumn appropriate.
18) "Changes IV," Cat Stevens: I recently joined an online competitive trivia league, and Cat Stevens was an answer to one of the questions, and that got me listening to Cat Stevens again. I forgot how much I like Cat Stevens. 70s folk perfection.
19) "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands," Bob Dylan: There are only 19 songs on this year's fall playlist, but I figured I could get away with it since this song is nearly 12 minutes long. I added it because I was having a discussion with my sister recently about Bob Dylan. I was explaining that this is the only Bob Dylan song that makes me feel feelings—a lot of his songs are okay, but this one gets to me. It's the chorus. Just beautiful. And the song is repetitive, but not in a bad way. It becomes soothing, reliable. Anyway, Molly was flabbergasted by my opinion. To each their own, I suppose.

It appears that the overarching themes of this year's fall playlist are: Riot Fest, the 1970s, album-openers. Seems about right.

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