Audio feast for fall: 12 songs to kick the midsemester blues


Midsemester can be exhausting. Good music is a great way to take the edge off. (Photo by Kaitie Fox)

Fall is my favorite time of the year.

It’s cool, but not cold. The pace feels a little slower. It’s perfect for the outdoors–hiking, camping, etc.

I hit my stride creatively and intellectually during this time of year.

The midsemester crunch really puts a damper on things, though.

Fortunately, all my favorite music seems to fit perfectly with the season. So, below is a selection of some of my favorite autumn tracks.

It’s an eclectic mix with a little something for everyone. Hopefully there’s a new chill out tune waiting for you.

Share some of your favorites: Make sure to share some of your favorite seasonal tracks in the comments section.

1. “School Days” – Chuck Berry

A classic rhythm and blues tune. Chuck makes school seem fun. Apparently, he didn’t go to my high school.


2. “People Are Strange” – The Doors

A psych-rock treat. Covered by Echo and the Bunnymen for The Lost Boys. Perhaps that’s why I associate it with fall. From my favorite Doors album, Strange Days.


3. “Old Man” – Neil Young

A tune for the world weary, yet young. Young wrote this one for his elderly farmhand, who he identifies with in the lyrics. A great song of catharsis. My fellow tired seniors, this one’s for you.


4. “Miss Misery” – Elliott Smith

Smith’s now signature tune. Featured in the Good Will Hunting soundtrack which was comprised largely of orchestral versions of Smith’s music. He performed a gorgeous version at the Oscars. The 21st of this month will be the eight-year anniversary of his death. Brilliant writer. Tragic end.


5. “Crazy” – Patsy Cline

Ms. Cline is pure dynamite. They don’t make country music like this anymore. Written by Willie Nelson. Cline’s version is quintessential.


6.  “Big in Japan” – Tom Waits

My favorite musician. Waits pokes fun at himself and his modest success. Waits at his most eccentric backed by members of Primus and a horn section. From his Mule Variations which made the list for Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list.


7. “Fake Empire” – The National

The first single from the album, Boxer, that solidified their reputation in indie rock circles. I first formed an attachment to this album in the fall of my freshman year. It’s been in the seasonal rotation ever since.


8.  “Star Witness” – Neko Case

A smokey alto singer in the classic country tradition. Rough around the edges, but she sings the sweetest melodies on the planet. One of the most relaxing songs I’ve ever heard. Great accompaniment to late night studying.


9. ” Girl from the North Country” – Bob Dylan

One of Dylan’s more pretty songs. The mood this one sets is directly analogous to pleasantly slow and relaxed feeling of fall. Originally recorded for the wonderful Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Countrified and rerecorded with Johnny Cash for Nashville Skyline.


10. “What’s Going On” – Marvin Gaye

The “Prince of Soul” himself singing the title from his finest album. A song for cruising downtown. Motown studio band, the Funk Brothers, lay down a smooth groove. Gaye’s voice soars above it all.


11. “Holy Holy” – Wye Oak

A standout from a killer album. Pure pop rock bliss. Play it loud.


12. “Gymnopedie No.1” – Erik Satie

Satie’s music still sounds incredibly fresh 86 years after his death. I first came in contact with this one as a solo piano piece. The string version is just as breathtakingly beautiful.

Nick Skiles is arts & entertainment editor for Aviso AVW.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Chris Skiles says:

    My picks from this list are: Marvin Gaye, Whats Going on and Gymnopedie No.1″ – Erik Satie.


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