Top 10 autumnal albums – the essential records to soundtrack your autumn
As the temperature drops outside and the nights draw darker, Getintothis’ Max Richardson runs you through some of the finest autumnal listening material.
Well then, summer seems to be completely and utterly behind us.
The parkas are out, the hats are on – it’s all looking very autumnal outside with crisp orange leaves strewn across the pavements.
To my mind, autumn demands a certain type of music – arguably more so than any other season.
As the nights outside get darker and darker, it’s difficult to top wrapping yourself in a blanket with a cup of tea and listening to an album from start to finish.
Autumn seems to bring out the more reflective, poignant side of music – with a larger emphasis on lyrics than the other seasons.
Gone are the feel-good dance hits of the summer, replaced with more introspective music to suit the colder weather.
And of course, with little motivation to leave the house aside from work – autumn is the perfect time to revisit old classics that perhaps you haven’t given a spin in a while, while being distracted with the abundance of new releases this year.
So sit back, put the kettle on – and let’s discuss the top ten albums you should be listening to this autumn, both old and new.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: The Boatman’s Call
Forget the image of a jack-o-lantern, or yellow leaves, this record is the definitive characteristic of autumn in my mind.
Every year, without fail – this album gets spun for a week or so practically on repeat as soon as October 1st rolls around.
With Cave’s beautifully introspective lyrics, particularly on tracks such as Into My Arms and People Ain’t No Good, The Boatman’s Call perfectly sums up what I think an autumnal album should sound like.
Similarly, Cave’s distinctive close-mic vocals heard on the record sound about as autumnal as music possibly can, the sonic equivalent of a warm hug from a loved one.
The slow, ambling feel of the record perfectly accompanies a quiet Sunday afternoon in November, with the pensive mood of The Boatman’s Call matching the mood of the latter months of the year.
Sigrid: Sucker Punch
On the surface, Sigrid’s sensational debut album might stick out like a sore thumb among this list.
The infinitely catchy pop of this record might initially appear to be more fitting with a list of summer albums, yet if we scratch below the surface Sigrid’s debut is equally at home in the latter months of the year.
Sucker Punch fuses catchy, upbeat pop anthems such as Sucker Punch, Don’t Kill My Vibe and Don’t Feel Like Crying with more downtempo tracks such as Mine Right Now and In Vain.
Even the tracks which may initially appear to be uptempo summer hits, such as Basic, carry a poignant undertone with empowering lyrics.
Strangers is a particularly strong track for the autumn months, with a real feel of warmth heard in the track through the crisp production and the strong vocals.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that in November Sigrid is set to tour the UK.
Kendrick Lamar: good kid, m.a.a.d city
Once again, good kid m.a.a.d city doesn’t initially seem like the ideal listen for a cold autumn day.
However, the conceptual nature of the album mixed with the storytelling lyrics of the tracks within certainly loan themselves well to this time of year.
Tracks such as The Art of Peer Pressure really do tell a story through the lyrics of the album, with Kendrick perfectly blending tight beats with atmospheric lyrics to create a unique record well suited to the autumn months.
good kid m.a.a.d city shines lyrically at this time of the year – with the cold weather perhaps urging the listener to focus more on the vocals rather than merely the flow or the beat.
Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures
The legendary record is brimming with moody instrumentals and Ian Curtis’ signature melancholic croon, absolutely screaming out for an autumnal spin.
Unknown Pleasures seems to rely on instruments perhaps a bit more than many of the other albums listed – with Peter Hook’s gritty basslines having become the stuff of legend.
Tracks such as Disorder really do get a little better with every spin, so no matter how many times you’ve listened to Unknown Pleasures, it’s always worthy of another listen.
Go on, we know you want to…
Jack Peñate: Matinée
Poised for a comeback with new record After You to be released this November, Jack Peñate’s debut is another classic record.
With warm guitars and crisp drums, Matinée is a surefire success for this time of year, a gem that many may have forgotten about since its initial release in 2007 (can you believe it!).
Learning Lines is a superb indie-pop ballad, with the more energetic Second, Minute or Hour nicely juxtaposing from it, and ensuring a blend of styles in the record.
The flicking between uptempo hits with more laid back ballads keeps the listener on their toes, while still feeling cohesive and unified as a single album.
The tracks of this record are of equal quality, and with impeccable pacing throughout it’s a top listen to accompany the cold weather.
Miles Davis: Kind of Blue
The only instrumental record listed here, Kind of Blue is another classic record well worth revisiting at this time of the year.
The inimitably moody tones of Davis’ trumpet softly usher the listener through the album, which remains at a consistently cool tempo throughout which Fonzie would be proud of.
Kind of Blue is the quintessential sound of a smoky bar on a cold night, condensed and transferred to record.
The five track album is perfectly suited to the autumn months, with the sheer depth of the record meaning you’re guaranteed to unveil another little fragment you never noticed before with every spin.
Equally unobtrusive and suitable for focussed listening, Kind of Blue is just one of those records that defines cold evenings in December for so many.
Taylor Swift: 1989
In a similar vein to Sigrid’s Sucker Punch, 1989 is a pop album with surprisingly poignant undertones well suited to this time of year.
Gone are the days when mainstream pop was reserved only for children and teenagers – it’s wholly acceptable and encouraged to listen to this album for what it is unashamedly: a truly wondrous pop record.
The empowering lyrics heard throughout meld with the silky smooth synth pop effortlessly, resulting in an amazingly cohesive listen which revels in simplicity.
1989 achieves exactly what it sets out to do – create infectiously catchy tunes that impossible to get out of your head, and boy oh boy does it achieve that goal.
Of course, Swift’s latest album Lover is of a similar style and quality, but there’s just something innately special about 1989 which really does set it apart from other records in the genre.
Jeff Buckley: Grace
Opening with the highly atmospheric Mojo Pin, Buckley’s Grace starts exactly as it means to go on.
Grace is another record of exceptional quality from start to finish, and is a natural fit for the autumn months for so many reasons.
The ethereal vocals of the album are delivered with such a feeling of intimacy it almost feels as if Buckley is in the room with you whenever this album is heard, and really gives this record that special something so hard to find.
The often downtempo, ballad-like feel of the album hides a surprising level of subtle elements added in the production of the record, more of which can be spotted with every listen.
But what really cements Grace as an autumnal classic is the aforementioned vocals of Buckley, which so suit this time of year.
Carole King: Tapestry
Another pivotal work in the singer-songwriter canon, Tapestry is another of those albums you’ve always loved, but perhaps haven’t heard recently.
The dated, retro sound of the record only adds to its charm, with such a distinctive style of piano-based tracks that never grows old.
So many of the tracks of the record are just effortlessly cool, with a real sense of pacing meaning that no matter how many times you listen, the skip button becomes redundant every time.
It’s always worth revisiting this record at this time of year, which is when it really shines lyrically.
Michael Kiwanuka: KIWANUKA
Perhaps a bit of a wildcard given its incredibly recent release, but if you haven’t already given Kiwanuka’s latest effort a spin, you’re simply missing out.
The warm sound of the record suits Kiwanuka’s voice perfectly, and also renders the album perfect for the launch time of early November.
Opener You Ain’t The Problem starts the album with a bang, with punchy drums played uptempo then being accompanied by gorgeously crisp guitars.
Kiwanuka’s lyrics have always been strong, but are pulled to another level on this album.
Of course, much of the albums mentioned here have been old classics, but let’s not forget that autumn is also ideally suited to discovering new records.
And as far as new records go, you could do far worse than listening to KIWANUKA this Autumn.
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