By Erin Caine
Though the sudden heat wave seems determined to stick around for a little while, it probably won’t be much longer until the air starts to cool.
As we begin to exchange t-shirts for sweaters, the best way to inaugurate the encroaching chilly season is with an appropriate musical selection. In the nebulous space between “Monster Mash” and “Santa Baby,” it can prove pretty tricky to find just the right playlist (unless you’re one of those people who cracks open the Christmas CDs the day after Halloween). Here’s a list of comfy classics and contemporary gems to get into the fall mood:
- “Fast Car,” Tracy Chapman. Chapman first captivated listeners nearly three decades ago with her heartfelt, down-to-earth vocals and thoughtful lyrics. “Fast Car,” the lead single off her debut album, is simple and sincere, driven by the easygoing plucking of an acoustic guitar. It’s the realism of the lyrics, however, that most resonated with people, detailing the struggles of a poor woman who wants more for herself out of life. “I know things will get better,” Chapman croons, in her frank yet remarkably poignant way. This is a track that never seems to lose its charm.
- “Don’t Wake Me Up,” Lianne La Havas. La Havas’s debut album, “Is Your Love Big Enough?” teems with a number of mellow and melodic tracks that blend jazz, pop, soul, and folk to create a truly unique atmosphere. The first track, “Don’t Wake Me Up,” features satin-smooth vocal harmonies over sparse, ambient instrumentation. (And, of course, the title of the song betrays some of our own feelings about getting up for classes in the morning.) La Havas’s lustrous vocals and masterful songwriting ability make her truly a standout talent to come out of the 2010s.
- “Color of Autumn,” Nujabes. The late, great Japanese producer, Jun Seba (known professionally as Nujabes) achieved recognition even in the west with a unique and matchless style. His music blends various genres and incorporates tasteful beats and stylish composition. “Color of Autumn,” though it’s a shorter track, showcases Seba’s ability to seamlessly integrate jazz piano riffs with more modern musical elements, such as the simple vocal line and rhythm loop characteristic of lo-fi hip hop. Other notable tracks of his include “Imaginary Folklore” and “Aruarian Dance.”
- “Into the Well,” Mree. With its sublime sound, tranquil tempo, and crystalline vocals, “Into the Well” is a resonating, deeply-felt opener to Mree’s second album, “Winterwell.” Indie singer-songwriter Marie Hsiao was still a teenager when she debuted with the self-produced “Grow” in 2011. Her career is rooted firmly in her own industry and passion, each track feels candid and distinctive, yet she has a natural taste for what makes a memorable melody. The song builds subtle layers of sound, drawing the listener into its gorgeously profound ambiance.
- “Leaves That Are Green,” Simon & Garfunkel. This bittersweet track—with its repeating lyric, “And the leaves that are green turn to brown”—is the perfect conclusion to this list, and the perfect song to listen to when in a particularly reflective and wistful mood. Even so, the same can easily be said of most songs from this renowned duo, such as the ambling “Kathy’s Song.” Even so, “Leaves that are Green” has a distinctive sound all its own: its untroubled, buoyant pace leaves room for the listener to ruminate on its thoughtful and honest lyrics.
To hear this playlist, go to: http://spoti.fi/2iBiAOu