Get Out Your Hoodie: Songs For Fall

NPR Music staffers have put away sun-soaked songs for more reflective, autumnal fare. i i

NPR Music staffers have put away sun-soaked songs for more reflective, autumnal fare. Abby Verbosky/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Abby Verbosky/NPR
NPR Music staffers have put away sun-soaked songs for more reflective, autumnal fare.

NPR Music staffers have put away sun-soaked songs for more reflective, autumnal fare.

Abby Verbosky/NPR

As golden leaves cover dew-soaked grass, so do warmer clothes wrap our chilled bodies. With the arrival of fall, these garments feel like old friends, as we return to the jackets and hoodies that have endured years' worth of crisp, wet weather. Music tends to work the same way, as reflective songs are intertwined with autumnal memories.

Around the NPR Music offices, we've affectionately come to call these "hoodie jams," as we delude ourselves into thinking that we can actually will a catchphrase into existence. These are the songs that make us dig our hands deeper into our pockets and pull our hoods over our heads on beautiful fall days. Please be sure to share some of your favorite fall music in the comments section below.

Get Out Your Hoodie: Songs For Fall

On Fire

Galaxie 500

  • Artist: Galaxie 500
  • Album: On Fire [Bonus Tracks]
  • Song: Isn't It a Pity

There's nothing quite like a fall morning, when the air is crisp and chilly enough for a favorite jacket or hoodie. It's that time of year -- before the unbearable cold of winter -- when it comes time to slow down and contemplate. Naturally, my musical choices also change along with the season. For me, fall music is warm and comforting yet dark and introspective. One of my go-to fall albums is Galaxie 500's On Fire, which achieves that nostalgic mood with its lo-fi dreaminess. The album's closer, "Isn't It a Pity" -- an inspired take on the George Harrison song -- begins with Dean Wareham quietly lamenting, "Isn't it a pity, isn't it a shame / How we break each other's hearts and cause each other pain?" But eventually, the song builds to a cathartic chorus, which washes away the melancholy. Like any great song for fall, "Isn't It a Pity" serves as both wistful escapism and a gorgeous palate-cleanser, ideally suited to those brisk morning walks. --Michael Katzif, NPR Music

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Song
Isn't It a Pity
Album
On Fire [Bonus Tracks]
Artist
Galaxie 500
Label
Galaxie 500
Released
1989

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Los Amparito

Los Amparito

  • Artist: Los Amparito
  • Album: Cuatrociénegas
  • Song: Cuatrociénegas

Earlier this year, young Mexican singer-songwriter Carla Morrison's new album, Aprendiendo a Aprender, left me breathless: She's shamelessly sweet, but it's no bubblegum pop. She's as hopelessly romantic as she is blunt and assertive, and her folk melodies and Eartha Kitt-style crooning leave no doubt that she's more than a fad. In "Cuatrociénegas," she pairs up with Carlos Pesina, a heavyweight in the Mexican indie electronic scene. Carlos Pesina -- a.k.a. Los Amparito, Pepepe and Pesina Siller -- has made a name for himself by relocating traditional Mexican music in fantastical electronic landscapes. Case in point: In this track, Morrison's ethereal voice is mixed in with sparse electronic beats and guitar pluckings that, to me, sound like a walk in the park on a lovely autumn evening. --Jasmine Garsd, NPR's Alt.Latino

Authenticity

The Foreign Exchange

  • Artist: The Foreign Exchange
  • Album: Authenticity
  • Song: Laughing At Your Plans

The Foreign Exchange is the R&B outfit of Phonte (rapper, singer and songwriter of the now-dismantled North Carolina rap duo Little Brother) and Nicolay, the multi-instrumentalist whose coruscating, typically Moog-driven production illuminates the duo's swooning and lustrous sound. Their latest album, Authenticity, is well-positioned to be the soundtrack of this year's fall season -- not only because of the timing of its release, but for each song's tailor-fitted mood and feel. The jovial and upbeat "Laughing at Your Plans," a duet featuring rising singer-songwriter Chantae Cann, is about as colorful and vibrant as the changing leaves of fall; in both a melodic and literal sense, it optimistically embraces that which is beyond our control. So bundle up in your hoodie and bask in the acoustic ambiance of this song as you bid the warm weather adieu. -- Andre Barnes, NPR Music

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Laughing At Your Plans
Album
Authenticity
Artist
The Foreign Exchange
Label
HBD LABEL GROUP
Released
2010

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Untrue

Burial

  • Artist: Burial
  • Album: Untrue
  • Song: Endorphin

I'm not sure what it was like around the rest of the country, but this summer D.C. was hot, I mean really hot -- the kind of hot that renders your shower useless once you step outside. Now, I'm not one to gripe about summer weather, but in all honesty, I've never been so excited for the leaves to turn. I've put away those jazzed-up dance beats, pressed pause on the beach-soaked guitars and taken a dive into the darker, cooler well of dubstep. Burial's music is perfect for the fall: forlorn samples about love and longing, lurking under buckling percussion and sustained through icy synth pads. "Endorphin" feels particularly right at this time of year: If you're exhausted by the oven-like marsh that is our nation's capital, this breezy neurotransmitter is perfect for chilling out. --Sami Yenigun, NPR Music

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Endorphin
Album
Untrue
Artist
Burial
Label
Hyperdub
Released
2007

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American Footballo

American Football

  • Artist: American Football
  • Album: American Football
  • Song: Never Meant [Vinyl]

Mike Kinsella is no stranger to weepy, face-pressed-against-the-window fall playlists. His solo project, Owen, sports a discography full of acoustic-led confessionals that stain the very sleeve his bleeding heart soaks. But the 1999 self-titled debut from his short-lived band American Football is an autumnal return. "Never Meant," in particular, is musically vibrant in the face of lost love. After a false start and a count-off that might otherwise suggest a rock-out, Steve Lamos' fake-jazz drumming moves the chordless, dizzying guitar work around like red-and-orange leaves on a gray lake. --Lars Gotrich, NPR Music

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Never Meant [Vinyl]
Album
American Football
Artist
American Football
Label
Polyvinyl
Released
1999

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Portrait in Jazz

Bill Evans Trio

  • Artist: Bill Evans Trio
  • Album: Portrait in Jazz [Riverside Bonus Tracks]
  • Song: Autumn Leaves

The standard "Autumn Leaves" is usually performed as a ballad, and a forlorn, weepy one at that; the dying-leaves-equal-lost-love metaphor looms large in any vocal version. But by late 1959, the Bill Evans trio was performing its own reading of the tune as a swinging, comfort-food instrumental. Many different Bill Evans trios took on "Autumn Leaves" over 20-plus years; this early version still feels definitive, though. It was the bounding bassist Scott LaFaro and the drummer Paul Motian, master of interruption, who helped Evans form his mature group language. Dig how the first bass solo actually becomes a three-way collective improvisation, implying a rapid pulse before exploding into full-blown swing. And how Evans' piano solo snatches a nugget of an idea, then expands and playfully refracts it before moving on. It transforms a minor-key lament into a round, warm furnace; and from seeing sadness in falling leaves to joyfully frolicking in them. --Patrick Jarenwattananon, NPR's A Blog Supreme

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Autumn Leaves
Album
Portrait in Jazz [Riverside Bonus Tracks]
Artist
Bill Evans Trio
Label
Fantasy
Released
1959

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

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