A Midwestern Fall Playlist

Written by on November 5, 2021

Again, I find myself scrambling to create the perfect playlist to soundtrack a particular feeling. The task at hand this evening is capturing the Midwestern fall season in its (partially) angsty glory. For me, the sounds of fall fluctuate with the weather. On Monday it is sunny and 70 degrees as I walk to my afternoon class. I’m listening to “Mars Bar” by the Undertones while I sip a raspberry Italian soda. Finally living my coming-of-age movie moment. And then Tuesday evening hits. It’s 8:15 p.m. and I’m using all my body weight to fight the wind, but at least my over-the-ear headphones keep my ears warm.

Last weekend, I went on a date, and we ended up stopping at a tiny French café in Cleveland. Minus the server’s Ohio customer service accent, it felt like we had been magically transported to a Parisian fall— taking shelter from the rain, strangers filled small round tables, the scent of espresso overtook the room. And it felt nothing like fall in the Midwest.

When I think of fall, I can only picture the Midwest: hayrides and corn mazes, cider and donuts, carved pumpkins and late-night walks. It’s pulling down your corduroy jacket from the top of the closet and saying, “well at least it’s not snowing.” It’s comforting, familiar.

As I was compiling a list of songs for this fall’s playlist, I came across a collab piece the BSR staff wrote the fall of 2019. It was published my first semester of college, when I was desperately homesick and pining for fall in Michigan. I was convinced that Ohio could not possibly measure up to my expectations. I wrote, “the apples never taste as sweet,” in reference to the produce I had gathered from Eastway, and my fall music essentials were nothing short of chaos.

Exhibit A:

  1. “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire (of course!)
  2. “Oh Susan” by Mark Whalen (and honestly most of Mark Whalen’s music! Check out “Someone to Be”)
  3. “Peach Scone” by Hobo Johnson 
  4. “Corduroy Dreams” by Rex Orange County
  5. “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson

This fall, I must remedy this catastrophe by providing you an up-to-date capsule of fall sounds. Sad and lovesick, with a hint of happy orange sunsets and driving through the trees.


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