Songs to Savor Every Season, by Rachel Foley
As summer winds down in Oxford, I can’t wait to soon feel the crisp fall morning air on my way to class. Besides the drop in temperature, the start of “sad girl autumn” also provides a shift in music to look forward to. As a self-proclaimed Swiftie, the start of the fall season gets me listening to music that gives me that same fall feeling — calm but also productive — and I end up listening to Taylor Swift’s folklore on repeat. This made me realize I needed to branch out on my music, not just for fall, but for all four seasons. However, if you give a girl a new season-by-season set of playlists, she will want to share it with others. So here it is: my top three songs to savor every season.
Song 1: All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version), by Taylor Swift
I know I said I wanted to branch out from Taylor Swift, but “All Too Well” is the epitome of a sad girl autumn song. I’ve been obsessed ever since it came out, and the short film is just as heart-wrenching as the song. It follows the build and eventual downfall of a relationship that thrived in autumn, inspired by Taylor’s relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal. The writing in this song is incredible and features amazing storytelling and completely heart-wrenching lyrics. The piano that accompanies “All Too Well” completely embodies fall — from its soft beginning that builds until after the bridge to when it calms into a more somber tone. The entire 10 minutes of this song are worth listening to, especially when walking to class on a fall morning. I can often remember walking into Upham while listening to this song last year, and I want that for everyone this fall.
Song 2: we fell in love in october, by girl in red
The title of this song really speaks for itself in terms of why it’s perfect for fall, but it definitely goes beyond that. Again, the track itself is very fall to me, very calm and serene in terms of the instruments and tempo. Fall makes me feel so serene every time I go outside; there are no bugs, it’s less hot out, everyone is in sweaters — it’s perfect. In this song, the narrator describes falling in love and pursuing a relationship with a girl during the fall months. I struggle to find songs this wholesome, and it’s hard to resist singing along every time I listen to it in public. If you’re an autumn hater, hear me out: Listen to this song on a fall day while walking past the changing leaves and you’ll change your mind.
Song 3: Cherry, by Harry Styles
While this song isn’t explicitly about fall, it’s definitely a fall type of vibe. The chord progression and tempo of the instruments has that calm build that I love to listen to in autumn. Listening to this song on fall nights will definitely make you feel the lyric’s somber tone despite its upbeat sound. In this song, Harry describes his regret after losing a girl he loved. The track is so cohesive, and his vocals, as always, are great. This song is definitely one of my favorites from Fine Line and one of my top fall songs.
Winter and fall both have very similar feelings in terms of music. They have a softer, gentler sound, and can easily be played in the background while doing homework at Armstrong. As campus begins to freeze over, you should give these songs a listen:
Song 1: Sweater Weather, by The Neighbourhood
Although “Sweater Weather” may seem like a fall song, I associate it with winter because of the more upbeat drum pattern, yet still overall gentle feeling. While the lyrics mention going to the beach, the track itself feels more like winter. The overall vibe of fall and winter music is very similar, but this song really shows how a stronger drum beat can give you that winter feeling. Something about winter makes me feel more dramatic than fall, and “Sweater Weather” completely embodies that. The song is like a transition period for fall and winter, and I recommend listening to it at night next to an open window in your bedroom.
Song 2: Are You Bored Yet?, by Wallows, featuring Clairo
This track is another could-be fall song, but it ultimately gives me such a post-Christmas, wintery feeling. This relaxing song is perfect for listening to in mid-January when the charm of cold weather and snow starts to wear off. The lyrics are about the fear of your partner getting bored after being in a long-term relationship. I love listening to this song in the winter, and everyone needs to try it.
Song 3: Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?, by Arctic Monkeys
As much as I want the third song to be cardigan or willow by Taylor Swift, I just can’t leave this song out. “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” is perfect to listen to in the car in the winter. The track is very wintery and has a similar vibe to “Sweater Weather” in that regard. “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” has a dramatic drum beat and this soft indie-rock instrumental track that draws me to winter in the same way as “Sweater Weather.” The lyrics describe the end of the narrator’s on-again, off-again relationship. The idea of loss and hope for something better is often associated with winter in a literary context, but this definitely applies to music, too. The best type of songs to listen to in winter are these more upbeat-sounding but still sad songs.
Spring is when you can turn the vibe around to more happy music as the flowers start to bloom. For students, the end of spring is a transition period between the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. This is the best time for new beginnings, especially new music.
Song 1: Good Days, by SZA
I have fond memories of walking around and listening to this song as it started to get warm again last semester. The beginning of “Good Days” makes me think of flowers blooming and morning dew on the grass. It’s one of SZA’s best songs and definitely my favorite off of Ctrl. Everyone needs to experience this song while either walking across Cook Field or picking up a coffee at Shriver before class. No other song embodies spring more.
Song 2: Memories, by Conan Gray
While “Memories” is a breakup song, it makes me think most of spring. Although it has a somber message, its dynamic bridge, the chorus, and the upbeat guitar after the first verse remind me of spring. This is a song for cold, rainy spring nights when you can smell the fresh air out of your window. Give it a try and thank me later.
Song 3: Not Allowed, by TV Girl
I recently discovered this song, and I’ll definitely be listening to it way too much in the spring. The lyric “the sound when leather jackets hit the ground” is perfect for when it’s still cold enough for a jacket but not too cold. The song as a whole makes me feel some type of way about spring, and I can’t wait to play it while hanging with friends outside in March next semester.
My summer music taste is a full 180 from fall. Fall is for the sad songs while summer is for the best upbeat songs. Summer is about having fun, and it also marks the start of the school year.. Campus is a lot quieter in the middle of summer, and then it becomes more lively when students return. This is exactly the kind of music I want to listen to then. You still have time left to appreciate this summer music while the season winds down, but you can also enjoy it year-round.
Song 1: Cruel Summer, by Taylor Swift
Okay, last Taylor Swift song. What can I say, blondie has really had me in a chokehold recently. This song is the ultimate summer song for me. Honestly, the whole Lover album is such a vibe for summer, but we’re going to stay focused on “Cruel Summer” for now. In this song, the narrator describes wanting more from an on-again, off-again relationship. As soon as the bridge of this song hits, I turn the volume up to 11/10, and I recommend you do the same. Driving in the car and singing this song with the windows down is the ultimate summer experience.
Song 2: chateau, by blackbear
This song has a great chorus that is perfect for listening to with all your friends. I pretty much have to skip this song while listening to it when walking around on campus because I can’t stop myself from singing along. It has a great dance beat to it, but it’s also totally appropriate to listen to in your car on the way home from work or class. The next time you’re on aux with your friends, capture the last few days of summer by putting this song at the top of your queue.
Song 3: The Adults Are Talking, by The Strokes
This song is a summer classic, and I know for a fact I’m not the only one who thinks so. Even though this song has been on previous RedHawk Radio playlists, it still needs to be highlighted as a great summer song. This one is more versatile; listen to it with your friends or alone, in the car or in your bedroom, on campus or Uptown. I personally love listening to this while I’m at Armstrong getting something to eat or working on homework. It’s not as upbeat as “Cruel Summer,” but it’s definitely one that you can listen to in the same way.
I hope you take my recommendations and make the most out of all four seasons in Oxford this year. Music can really transport you to a specific feeling or memory if you let it, and making memories with songs is how that happens. It’s time for some great music this year, and with fall rapidly approaching, the whole vibe is about to change for the better.