15 Alternative Songs to Help You Survive the Fall

No, leaves hitting the ground isn’t music.


I’m just not that sentimental or introspective, most of the time. While I can take a cup of Earl Grey or a nice spiced cider and admire the beauty of the fall, I enjoy it even better with a good playlist. My music taste does change in the fall. Okay, maybe I do get somewhat sentimental, but to my own defense the Earth’s gravitation pull is different this time of year and that has to have some sort of effect on the human psyche, right? Anyway, I am sure Starbucks is already selling some compilation like this one on their cash wraps, but I can promise you it won’t have Tony Sly on it.

*This list is Bright Eyes-free for obvious reasons.

1. Alice Merton “No Roots”

Alice Merton gives me the same chills that I had when I first heard Fiona Apple. The difference is you can dance to “No Roots” or just suck down some Chamomile tea.

2. Elliot Smith “A Fond Farewell”

There is no fall playlist without Elliot Smith. Needless to say, a good goodbye song to the summer, even if you take the whole Elliot Smith downfall out of it.

3. The Jesus and Mary Chain “Just Like Honey”


Yes, this song is easily included in this year’s list due to its use in “Lost in Translation.” It’s such a damn good song using the infamous wall of sound to shame the autumn emotions out of your limbic system.

4. Jack White “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy”

Eponymous means giving your name to something. The piano in this song will tickle your spine as you tap along to it. You’ll look good listening to this song while wearing a peacoat.

5. The Bird and The Bee “Private Eyes”

It’s a big project to dedicate an album to play someone else’s music…unless it’s Hall and Oats. I am rather shocked there isn’t an entire section of any given music store left with a dedicated section to Hall and Oats cover albums.

5. Tony Sly and Joey Cape “Not Your Savior”

It was post-90’s punk. We were all getting emotional for some reason (see the next entry) and the late Tony Sly of No Use for a Name and Joey Cape of Lagwagon dropped an acoustic album to rival anything going on in the emo-scape.

7. Dashboard Confessional “Standard Lines”

If there ever was a fall song for lushness, this is the theme song. As so many dead leaves fall from the trees, so will romance, I guess.

8. Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Hysteric (Acoustic Version)”


When the Yeah Yeah Yeahs released “It’s Blitz” in 2009 their deluxe edition featured some of the more sentimental tracks performed acoustically, which was a win for us all because they would not have fit with the flow on the standard version, but the world would have missed out on some amazing renditions songs that deserved a second, electric-free listen.

9. Brand New “Jesus Christ”

They promise they will finally break up in 2018, but long before they even thought about storing the gear away and getting along with their lives, Brand New released “The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me” and backed up the title with this track.

10. Portugal. the Man “So Young”

The Lords of Portland may have laid out the best fall verse ever: “I just want to find a friend/I don’t need another lover/One day the world may end/But there’s still plenty to discover.” So, ya know, don’t let the season get you down.

11. Spoon “The Underdog”

Sure, it’s Spoon, not Billy Joel, but only your parents won’t know for sure. A song that starts by setting your pipe and slippers out for you! What could be more autumn than that?

12. Cage the Elephant “Instant Crush”

It’s a big move to cover a Daft Punk song as a pure rock band. It’s even bigger when the vocals on that song were performed by indie rock royalty, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes. “And we will never be alone again/’Cause it doesn’t happen everyday/Kinda counted on you being a friend/Kinda given up on giving away.” The fall, good for bitterness, too!

13. Metric “Breathing Underwater (Acoustic)”

You’ve got to love Emily Haines. It’s can’t be helped. She made this song. No one is making out to this song. They are just crying in porridge. It’s just too cold!

Bonus! Here’s the exclusive X96 Lounge X performance of this track:

14. The xx “Brave For You (Marfa Demo)”

Sure you can accuse The xx vibes and lyrics being too full of regret, but I would argue that’s what people like them. This particular song has a very bluesy vibe to it. Maybe it’s the synth horns or how sparse it is overall. I certainly think they were spending some time listening to Frank Ocean during the recording of “I See You.”

15. Morrissey “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get

You could argue that Morrissey has grown in some Frank Sintra stage of his career where he’s still Morrissey but is the potency as strong in this world of social media’s Insta-opinions? Maybe that’s why I like this song so much. “Vauxhall and I” was released in 1994. Way before snaps and Twitter trenches! Back then, you had to bring roses and rush through the wall of stage security to get to Mox. Now you can fire off a tweet to his official account. It’s just not as exciting to watch.

Hit play, take a walk through the leaves and enjoy all the somber fall songs:


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