As the leaves on the trees begin to fall, and term returns in full swing, and we start to curl up under fluffy blankets and in cosy jumpers; a certain ambience arrives. There’s an atmosphere about the Autumnal season and very often, music can help us get fully immersed in that. This week’s Closer to The Edge, sees our writers compile a playlist to help you ‘fall’ into the season with ease (see what I did there?)…
NEEDTOBREATHE- ‘More Time’
I think that this song has a great meaning and perfectly sums up not just Autumn, but the start of any new season. This song was my soundtrack to Freshers’ Week last year – and to current Freshers out there wondering if they’ll ever settle in to the crazy rollercoaster ride that is university, like NEEDTOBREATHE say, ‘Just a few more months and we’ll be fine.’ The four-piece band are Christian rockers, and I really love their relaxed, guitar-heavy sound. ‘More Time’ was included on the soundtrack to P.S. I Love You; one of those slightly cheesy films that’s perfect to put on when curling up in a blanket and having a mug of hot chocolate, as the temperature slowly drops in the run-up to Christmas. Despite the assignments that are looming for everybody, it’s important to ‘say what’s on your mind’, because there are loads of people who can help, and university is definitely the time to try new things in arguably the most exciting time of your life! Give it a listen if you need a pick-me-up after a hard day, or just want to relax in your PJs!
words by Eleanor Joyce
Ella Henderson- ‘Glow’
For me, and perhaps because it is the song that personally reminds me of my first term at university, my Autumn playlist is headed up by Ella Henderson’s ‘Glow’. Its backing draws you in with a certain kind of ‘cosy-ness’ (for lack of a better, or actual, word) which at the same time is also inherently powerful. It has a fundamental sense of rebirth that encapsulates the opportunities of the new school year, specifically encapsulating opportunities at university for me when it was released in September 2014, and it therefore becomes symbolic of this newness and change that Autumn represents for us all. The song’s mantra then achieves this message as we’re told we can be “soldiers of light” if we simply stay strong and “show them how we light up tonight” then we can “glow”. This is then further developed with Henderson’s strong and powerful vocal that tells us “that our love will burn” and the “flame will never die” in an uplifting and optimistic way, polished off with a soft harmony section exposing these emotions. To encapsulate the song and its place in the Autumn playlist, I guess I could sum it up in one word: encouraging! So “we will glow”…
words by Bruno Russell
Alter Bridge- ‘Watch Over You’
Using the changing of the seasons from autumn to winter as an analogy for the impending loss of a loved one, Alter Bridge’s ‘Watch Over You’ is such a powerful song. Not only does the song actually have lyrics about Autumn (which makes it all the more applicable here), but the music itself is fantastic; acoustic guitars mixed perfectly with Alter Bridge’s classic rock sound, creating a chilled out and emotional sound for the song. Coupled with this are the amazing lyrics themselves; lines such as “You say you care for me/But hide it well/How can you love someone/And not yourself?” and “And when I’m gone/Who will break your fall?/Who will you blame?/I can’t go on/And let you lose it all/It’s more than I can take” are beautifully written and sang by Myles Kennedy, who has arguably one of the best voices in the genre. It’s a touching and heartfelt song which invokes the melancholic atmosphere of the autumnal season and the emotions of loss and having to move on. So I guess in that sense it works in a back to school type way as well – it’s a time of transition and having to leave things and people behind and go forward. But as long as we have Alter Bridge, all will be well.
words by David Mitchell-Baker
Foo Fighters- ‘Aurora’
The end of this October marks nine years since I first started listening to Foo Fighters, with There Is Nothing Left To Lose (my favourite record of all time) being the first record of theirs that I bought. Naturally, that record became forever associated with the colder months; mainly Autumn.
There is Nothing Left to Lose is on a continuous cycle throughout autumn and winter, but it’s the album’s sixth track ‘Aurora’ that has always personified Autumn for me. There’s just something so unusual surrounding the song. Whether it’s the slow composition or Grohl’s hauntingly quiet vocals over the distinctive bass line, it’s something completely far from what the Foo’s are known for; yet it fits so seamlessly into their catalogue.
‘Aurora’ is a song that not only reminds me of sunlit autumn drives through the New Forest with my family, but it also helped me through my anxiety and depression before I was actually diagnosed with it. It gave me a sense of purpose and something to hold to, especially when Grohl sings; “You believe there’s somewhere else / Where it’s easier than this / And you see outside yourself / And you buy the hole you’ll fill”. It fit so well with my state of mind at the time, and whenever I feel like I’m creeping back to that state, Foo Fighters always manage to pick me up with this gem.
words by Sophie McEvoy
Half Moon Run- ‘Full Circle’
Somewhat ironically, given that I discovered this song in the middle of May, Half Moon Run’s ‘Full Circle’ was one of the first tracks that came to mind when the Autumn playlist was suggested. Maybe it’s just the use of picked guitar riffs, or that sense of building up to something bigger, or even just the low lighting of the video- I can’t disconnect the song and the season. It’s something that screams of running through forests on days where the chill in the air cannot be ignored, and that’s as Autumnal as it gets to me. Its lyrics are seemingly both introspective and cyclical and the drum beat that accompanies it really drums in that sense of it being about the patterns of life and a sense of desperation to escape them. Autumn is an in-between month, building up to Christmas but not quite there; the aftermath of the summer but not quite there, and I think this song resembles the in-between life in a way. Also the atmosphere is just very Autumn like, and maybe my connecting them is actually nothing deeper than that. Who knows?
words by Rehana Nurmahi
Modern Baseball– The Perfect Cast EP
This one resonates with me so deeply for many reasons. I first heard the EP upon its release in October 2015 as Modern Baseball were becoming one of my favourite bands, and I instantly fell in love with every song. The Perfect Cast hit at an important time for me as I was starting Uni, both settling in and struggling at times, so the music was nearly constantly on repeat. But the themes and lyrics of the songs were so startling emotional and cathartic; depression, break ups and loneliness to name just a few topics covered. And when you add in the fact that singer and guitarist Brendan had recently almost committed suicide and had undertaken a rehab programme, the songs hit home that much more. I think it’s rather apt that the EP is titled The Perfect Cast, there really isn’t a bad song on the EP, both musically and lyrically. It’s one of the first things that popped into my mind when I thought of Autumnnal music; it basically defined my Autumn last year and listening to this EP is one of my favourite memories from my first few months of Uni. I owe a lot to this EP, and I have a feeling that I’ll be listening to it for many more seasons to come.
words by David Mitchell-Baker
Fleet Foxes- ‘Helplessness Blues’
Fleet Foxes’ ‘Helplessness Blues’ – from the 2011 album of the same name – is this generation’s ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’. I think any autumn song, any song which lends itself to short orange evenings and a nip of frost, at its core has to be a little melancholy. Autumn is a season where the major focal point is all the plant life dying, for goodness sake! October is the Friday of the year, and a time for a little mournful self-reflection. ‘Helplessness Blues’ brings that in spades. It’s a soft song, warm and acoustic, and it talks of how we assume ourselves to be dynamic heroes who deserve to be placed on pedestals. It says how we each see ourselves as unique as snowflakes but that, while this is true, it’s more important and more meaningful to be a hero in the small, everyday ways. That you don’t have to be the one iconic person making bold strokes, as long as you’re on the right side of history, and doing good things day by day. Being kind to the people in your life, pushing against those who want to push you down. Autumn marks the point where the year folds in on itself, and we’re all a little aware of ourselves and what we have and haven’t done. ‘Helplessness Blues’ is a song for this time of year that says it’s okay – just keep trying.
words by Millie Cassidy
Paolo Nutini- ‘Last Request’
As is the vibe of most of this playlist, my contribution verges on the melancholic. I think we all know that Autumn is a time of things coming to an end, and one of Paolo Nutini’s earlier singles, Last Request, is a personal favourite in lieu of that theme. The song details a relationship as it comes to an end, and the singer’s plea to his lover to just have one last night together before they part ways, despite his knowing the futility of that. The thing about Autumn is that although the leaves are falling off the trees, and the year is coming to an end, there is something inherently beautiful about it. In fact, it is- and always has been- my favourite of all the seasons. Like the season itself, this song has a sense of beauty about it, and as tragic as it is, becomes a beautiful ode to a lost lover. Maybe it’s just Nutini’s distinct and raw vocals that make it thus, but nevertheless, it encompasses that Autumnal feeling perfectly in my mind.
words by Rehana Nurmahi
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