Even though Texas is putting up a good fight, the weather is becoming chillier as we get into fall. In my opinion, no season is complete without an accompanying soundtrack. If there was going to be a movie made about your life, you need to have the proper music to set the tone for each season. Think of this as pre-work for the career-defining moment. Until then, here are some tunes that emulate a brisk autumn/winter day.
“Cupid”, Ryan Beatty
“Cupid” comes off of Ryan Beatty’s dreamy pop debut Boy in Jeans. The minimally produced track allows for Beatty’s ambient vocals to take center stage as he croons about a past crush who can’t make his mind up between Beatty and his girlfriend. A majority of the song is borderline Valentine’s Day material, but what puts this track on my list is its chilly outro. Not chilly in the foreboding sense, but chilly like a sharp winter’s breeze that cuts your cheeks and jolts you back to reality. In such an outro, Beatty similarly comes back to reality, but chooses to remain in love.
As you step out of the coffee shop and into the slightly warm November sun: “But until then I’ll be dreaming about that”
“Winona Ryder”, Picture This
I’m not sure if I have ever heard of an Irish alternative pop band, but Picture This does it well. The quartet are quite popular across the pond and with tracks like “Winona Ryder,” that fame is bound to come to the states. “Winona Ryder” captures the lovestruck goodness that comes with chance encounters, fit with a sound that belongs on an early 2000s romcom. Spending autumn with a partner is always ideal, and this song sets the scene for meeting such a person.
“Down for You”, Cosmo’s Midnight & Ruel
Australian electronic music duo Cosmo’s Midnight taps into Ruel’s soulful vocals for this retro-tinged track about a party that’s not too fun. However, as Ruel croons, he is willing to stay because the person he is with makes it all the better. I am a SUCKER for an introvert/extrovert couple and this song gives all of that wrapped in a cozy sound. Partying (safely of course) while it’s cold out ignites such a warm feeling and having the person of your dreams alongside you makes it even better.
What’s running through their head when you’ve pulled them to a corner in order to convince them to stay at the party: “But when you smile I just forget / But I can stay a while I guess”
“Mean It”, Lauv feat. LANY
As romantic as autumn can be, it also symbolizes a gradual end. Lauv and LANY’s “Mean It” tackles such an ending through the feeling of wanting to mean more to someone who only sees you as a second choice, but to no avail. The indie pop track is right in Lauv and LANY’s wheelhouses, both of who make great tracks about the melancholies of a relationship. Sometimes, things don’t pan out the way that we think they will and although things are ending in autumn, it’s a great time for a realization like the one that is “Mean It”.
When you start getting emotional outside at night and you try to blink back your tears but the cold seems to freeze them in place: “Don’t build me up just to let me down”
“Fiebre”, Bad Gyal
Party songs are typically associated with summer, but there is something polished and dramatic about Bad Gyal’s “Fiebre” that makes it fit autumn/winter better. Featured on the Netflix hit Élite, “Fiebre” paints a picture of love in “una fiesta nocturna” (translated: a night party) where a girl meets a guy and promptly becomes enamored with him. Spanish songstress Bad Gyal captures this intense love (lust? obsession?) with her enchanting vocals on a heady beat produced by King DouDou. The song is an ode to electric nights and the momentous connections that they spark.
As you tilt your head back and exhale a smoky cloud in the winter air before stepping into the club: “Entré en el dancehall / Estaba ardiendo”
“Ice Cubes”, Dounia
As smooth as the titular object, Dounia’s vocals slide on the club-ready beat of “Ice Cubes.” On the track, the Moroccan American singer plays games with her love interest, keeping him on his toes while establishing her worth. “Ice Cubes” emulates the demeanor of an ice queen, who knows what they want and how they are getting it. Let the colder weather entice your inner ice queen as you embody the luxurious sensuality of “Ice Cubes.”
As you turn your nose up at a pitiful man while dressed in a blood red dress and a snow white fur coat: “Drawing out the residue, whiskey from his ice cubes / Use it to entice you”
“Strawberries & Cigarettes”, Troye Sivan
Alongside a warmer wardrobe, colder weather also brings the turn of the year, which always prompts some reflection. When looking back, we unintentionally sweeten our toughest memories to make the pain a little more bearable, resulting in a bittersweet ache that delightfully echoes with the brush of cold weather. Troye Sivan’s “Strawberries & Cigarettes” captures this bittersweet energy in recollecting a previous relationship that he just hasn’t gotten over. Produced by Jack Antonoff, the track was supposed to be on Sivan’s debut album, but it ended up on the Love, Simon soundtrack. Regardless of how it was released, “Strawberries & Cigarettes” is a bittersweet last kiss to the memories in our past.
As you drive home on the highway and open the windows to give your thoughts space to roam in the silent, cold night air: “And even if I run away / Give my heart a holiday / Still, strawberries and cigarettes always taste like you”
“Can I Call You Tonight?”, Dayglow
Texas’ very own Dayglow produced the instrumental for “Can I Call You Tonight?” six months before he actually wrote the song, but it didn’t take that long for it to resonate with millions of people by way of TikTok. The song captures the true essence of autumn/winter – it’s equal parts hopeful as it is wistful, and it’s fit with laidback, sweet production. “Can I Call You Tonight?” plays like the ending of a wonderful film where we don’t know if the couple exactly ends up together, but we bask in the possibility of their eternal love and happiness. The colder weather opens the door to such fantasies and tracks like this let you indulge in them.
When you finally get the door to open and turn back to find that your date waited to see if you got in safely, prompting you both to share a sweet smile illuminated by the city’s holiday lights: “So can I call you tonight? / I’m trying to make up my mind”