Songs for Your Autumn Playlist
Sometimes, the best way to wake up and get ready for the day is to feel like you are getting ready for the morning in a movie, with a peaceful soundtrack playing in the background as you amble about your morning routine. Here are our top picks for peaceful autumn songs to add to your morning playlist.
Autumn in New York, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole
The true song of Autumn, Autumn in New York is the perfect song to put on while drinking your coffee and getting ready for a chilly autumn day. And this version is perfect, because it’s sung by two true icons. How do you describe this duo? Other than just using the Lady Gaga meme: amazing, talented, brilliant, incredible… need I go on? There is also an amazing version of this song by Billie Holiday, which is more wistful, but this version has the amazing interplay of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong singing together, which… if there is ever a version by them of a song, that is probably my favourite. I adore the raspy Armstrong vocals, but especially when they’re juxtaposed against Ella Fitzgerald’s mellifluous contralto tones. Autumn lyrics include ‘This autumn in New York/Transforms the slums into Mayfair/Oh, autumn in New York/You’ll need no castles in Spain‘.
Autumn, Paolo Nutini
Paolo Nutini has a magical gift for completely changing my mood, and this slow, sad song is simply gorgeous. Talking more about the autumn of life than the season, this song is just on the right side of tear-inducing. Autumn lyrics include ‘And I hear him singing while he sits there in his chair/While these autumn leaves float around everywhere‘.
Autumn Leaves, Frank Sinatra
This is my favourite version of this song – except the Nat King Cole one, but then there is too much of a good thing (keep scrolling). Frank’s version has a bright and brassy beginning, before transitioning seamlessly into a slow and strong melody that really shows off the Sinatra pipes. Autumn lyrics include ‘The falling leaves drift by the window/The autumn leaves of red and gold‘ and ‘Since you went away, the days grow long/And soon, I’ll hear old winter’s song/But I miss you most of all, my darling/When autumn leaves start to fall’. My only issue with that chorus is that… surely if winter is approaching, the days are growing short, not long?
Autumn Leaves, Eva Cassidy
This is, technically, the same song. But the pacing, even the melody, is different in this version. It comes across, in my opinion, even more melancholy than the original. and Eva Cassidy’s powerful vocals send shivers down my spine every time.
Autumn Leaves, Chet Baker
That’s right, a third version of this same song on the same playlist. But this is the seven minute long, majority jazz-trumpet and keyboard version. For a song that is mostly remembered for its autumnal lyrics, Chet Baker’s version is just as memorable for being instrumental.
Autumn Leaves, Ed Sheeran
Okay this is the last one, I promise. No more autumn leaves! But I couldn’t miss out this lesser known Ed Sheeran track. Almost a lullaby, this Sheeran track is wistful, sleepy, and has some classic Sheeran-isms. The man has a way with a turn of phrase! Autumn lyrics include ‘Float down/Like autumn leaves/And hush now‘.
Leaves That Are Green, Simon and Garfunkel
…It wasn’t a lie, even though this song does also mention autumn leaves. We need more songs about conkers, people! Leaves That Are Green is a classic Simon and Garfunkel song, with all the dreamy vocals and jingly tambourine you could hope for. A track with a very happy melody that almost makes you want to skip, paired with lyrics that make you think about your own mortality. Classic Simon and Garfunkel. Autumn lyrics include ‘the leaves that are green turn to brown/And they wither with the wind/And they crumble in your hand‘.
Autumn Leaves, BTS
Okay, I lied again. Another Autumn Leaves! And this one is a very different vibe to the majority of this playlist. But BTS is a deeply beloved band, so I couldn’t miss them from this list. Unfortunately, I have had to rely heavily on Translate for my autumn lyrics for this entry, because while my French is not great, it vastly outshines my non-existent Korean. So, autumn lyrics (probably) include, ‘That dangerous looking fallen leaf over there‘ which is a great line, so I hope I’m right.
Pale September, Fiona Apple
Yes, we are posting this after September, but that doesn’t take away from how great this song is. This is probably our most poetic pick for the playlist, as the lyrics put me in mind of a great epic, or a lyrical ballad, like the Lady of Shalott. The imagery makes me thing of Romantic paintings, and the overall impression of the song is wistful and piano forward. Autumn lyrics include ‘The autumn days swung soft around me, like cotton on my skin‘.
‘Tis Autumn, the Nat King Cole Trio
And we’re onto the true King of Autumn, the mellifluous Nat King Cole (and trio) with ‘Tis Autumn. This is maybe our most autumnal pick, as every other word in this three minute long song is autumn. Autumn lyrics include, obviously, ‘tis Autumn‘, but also ‘The trees say they’re tired, they’ve born too much fruit/Charmed all the wayside, there’s no dispute/Now shedding leaves, they don’t give a hoot‘. I love the use of the word ‘hoot’. More hoots, I say.
The Best Day, Taylor Swift
This song makes me cry. I’m not even really sure why, but sometime around the second verse about how much Taylor loves her mum, I have silent tears rolling down my face. Autumnal lyrics include ‘I run and run/Past the pumpkin patch/And the tractor rides/Look now, the sky is gold’ and ‘I don’t know why Autumn leaves fall‘. Yes, that is yet another use of autumn leaves in a song about Autumn – clearly song writers have a favourite aspect of the season! Ideally I would also add All Too Well, from Red, but she won’t be releasing her new version of that album for another month. But that song is one of my all time favourites, so I’m very excited for it! And autumnal lyrics include ‘Autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place‘ which is one of my favourite Taylor Swift lines.
Pâle septembre, Camille
Another more poetic pick, and with the same title: but this time it’s French! I love a bit of French music. I really enjoy the sudden spike in volume and vibe about two and a half minutes in, when it begins to sound like a haunting. Like, not a haunting melody, but like you are being Haunted. A great late-October track. Autumnal lyrics include ‘il serait temps de s’entendre/sur le nombre de jours qui/jonchent le sol/d’octobre‘ or, translated from my very basic French, ‘It would be time to agree on the number of days littering the soil of October‘, which come to think of it, I’m not entirely certain what that means.
For all these tracks and more, please check out this playlist.