By Hayden Godfrey
Everything changes in the fall, including our moods and attitudes. Enjoy some easy-listening tracks from today and yesterday, inspired by fall colours, cozy afternoons and late-night study sessions.
“Way With Words” by Bahamas, 2018
Toronto-native Afie Jurvanen, better known by his stage name Bahamas, has been enchanting indie-rock audiences for over a decade. His 2018 release Earthtones continues his streak of excellence. A carefree expression of self-confidence, “Way With Words” is an easy listen that will both relax and inspire.
“Fire and Rain” by James Taylor, 1970
One of the most successful singer-songwriters in the history of popular music, James Taylor has written some of the coziest and most soothing fall songs of all time. His signature tune, “Fire and Rain,” has thoughtful lyrics and gently floating melodies, making it a great song to kick off a long study session.
“Silver Springs” by Fleetwood Mac, 1977
If you’re a uni student who has ever experienced a breakup, chances are you have felt the same way as the members of Fleetwood Mac did during the recording of their 1977 record Rumours. The informal climax of the album, the epic “Silver Springs,” has been likened to a release of emotion and tension by critics and fans alike.
“Mexico” by The Staves, 2012
The Staves have been known to cook up some heavenly harmonies, accompanying them with silky acoustic guitars and ethereal percussion. Their 2012 debut, polished by the romantic “Mexico,” caught the attention of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, who has produced every record of theirs since.
“Jane” by Barenaked Ladies, 1994
Another tune that oozes fall colours and feelings, “Jane” is a quaint folk-rocker with introspective lyrics and a tale of young love. Thanks to an eerie cello and crystal clear drumming, this one feels like a warm blanket after a long day of class. It’s also got some Toronto references thrown in for added homeyness.
“Sodom, South Georgia” by Iron & Wine, 2004
In this sleepy, acoustic-guitar driven tune, Irone & Wine paints a magical picture of a small, snowy town in central Georgia. A perfect blend of indie and country, the soothing vocals are perfect for the wholesome and simplistic lyrics that accompany.
“This Flight Tonight” by Joni Mitchell, 1971
Canadian legend Joni Mitchell has a hefty catalogue of relaxing folk tunes that have been tried and tested over nearly 40 years of touring and recording. In “This Flight Tonight,” Mitchell tells a devastating love story using rural Saskatchewan as a uniquely Canadian backdrop.
“Green” by Billie Marten, 2016
Dreamy and, at times, mildly disorienting, the unofficial sixth track on Marten’s 2016 debut EP Writing of Blues & Yellow is an interesting take on typical folktronica. Thanks to Marten’s breathy enunciation and delicate instrumentation, listeners are transported to a world of clouds and warm colours.
“From the Morning” by Nick Drake, 1972
Like many other stars gone too soon, English folkster Nick Drake wasn’t around for all that long. He carried with him an air of mystery, despite only making three records before his death in 1974. While some might try to read between Drake’s lyrics for deeper meaning, sometimes it’s better to just sit back and take it all in.
“The Longer I Run” by Peter Bradley Adams, 2008
Though occasionally cheesy and mosaic in composition, Adams, an Alabama native and swift guitarist, energizes and sympathizes in this 2008 track from his album Leavetaking. The lyrics speak volumes, and the story is as inspiring as it is comforting.
“Two of Us” by Supertramp, 1975
A beautiful and hopeless expression of grief, this interlude written by Supertramp frontman Roger Hodgson is relatable, smooth and tragic. Though it screams teenage angst, the song is really about Hodgson’s creative confusion and the emotional crossroad he reached in his mid-20s. Who else can relate?
“Holland” by Sufjan Stevens, 2003
Stevens, an American multi-instrumentalist perhaps best known for contributing to the Call Me by Your Name soundtrack, charms with this cut off his 2003 EP Michigan. A light, piano-driven tune, “Holland” is a gorgeous bookend to a day’s worth of exploring new music.