In Earshot: Songs for sad girl autumn

Grace Pearson-Thompson, Arcade Editor

In Earshot Graphic (Emma Vaughters)

The temperature dropped pretty considerably last week — naturally, so did my mood. 

I checked my most streamed songs for the last four weeks using a Spotify extension called Stats for Spotify. I knew I’d been getting more into Phoebe Bridgers’ entire discography than I had been over the summer, but the results had affirmed my suspicions: sad girl autumn has arrived. If you’re like me and “All Too Well” by Taylor Swift is your most streamed song over the last month — happens to the best of us, right? — then you might also be feeling the seasonal depression hit. If you’re searching to dive deeper into sad music, past “The Night We Met” by Lord Huron, keep reading for some heart wrenching, intricate, imperfectly beautiful recommendations. 

Faking My Own DeathAllison Ponthier 

I fell in love with Allison Ponthier’s music as soon as I heard “Cowboy” — after all, the opening lyric to the song is “it took New York to make me a cowboy,” which is nothing short of an excellent hook. Ponthier released her EP, also titled “Faking My Own Death,” this past August — honestly, the entire collection of songs on it could be a recommendation for your sad girl autumn playlist. When Ponthier announced that she’d written the EP’s namesake song with two musicians I really admire, Ethan Gruska and Adam Melchor, I was instantly on board. The guitar melody at the beginning of the song further proves my point that Ponthier only releases songs that are incredible from the moment you press play. If you’re interested in more of her music, I’d also recommend “Hell Is A Crowded Room,” “Late Bloomer” and a song created in collaboration with Lord Huron, “I Lied.” 

My EyesThe Lumineers 

We all — I hope — remember The Lumineers for their stomp-clap-indie hit “Ho Hey” off of their self-titled album from 2012. The band made themselves into even more of a household name with more recent  releases like “Ophelia” and “Cleopatra.” I discovered “My Eyes” after finding a cover of the song performed by Lennon Stella that twisted my heart into a pretzel, probably. “My Eyes” comes from The Lumineers’ 2016 album entitled “Cleopatra.” Like many other songs by The Lumineers, listeners are able to pick apart most of the elements of “My Eyes” — they keep it beautifully simple, and I’d like to think that’s because they want to showcase the gritty-but-addictive vocals of Wesley Schultz. The Lumineers have released a truly flawless discography, but if you’re looking for more music in the same vein, Schultz — the lead singer — released an album of covers entitled “Vignettes” in 2020. I must say, his reimaginations of some of my favorite songs, like “If It Makes You Happy” and “Green Eyes,” rival the originals.  

That Funny FeelingPhoebe Bridgers 

I know I already mentioned Phoebe Bridgers earlier in this article, but I would be remiss if I didn’t point out her newest release, a cover of Bo Burnham’s “That Funny Feeling” from his comedy special released earlier in 2021, “Inside.” Something about the airy but eerie delivery of the incredibly well-written lyrics makes a legitimately perfect song cut even deeper. If you have somehow evaded Phoebe Bridgers, or haven’t listened to her discography past more well-known songs like “Kyoto” and “Motion Sickness,” allow me to not be the first to tell you that you’re missing out. Your sad playlist could benefit from the vast majority of her songs, but I would particularly recommend “Scott Street,” her cover of “Friday I’m In Love” by The Cure, “You Missed My Heart,” “Savior Complex” and “Punisher.” If you’re really in a rut, an album created in collaboration with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, “boygenius,” will sit by your side and help you wallow. 

Means SomethingLizzy McAlpine 

I’ve looked up to Lizzy McAlpine for quite some time: she’s a young musician — like me — and an immeasurably talented singer, lyricist, guitarist and harmonizer, if that last one is a thing that exists. It should be, if it’s not, because her vocal stacks send chills up my spine. “Means Something” comes from McAlpine’s second album, “Give Me A Minute.” This song feels like laying on your bed at 3 in the morning, staring at the ceiling and wondering why you’re still awake — no, I’m not speaking from experience, I promise! If you want to dive deeper into McAlpine’s impressive discography, “Give Me A Minute” is packed with artistry. I especially love “Where Do I Go?,” “How Do I Tell You?” and the title track, “Give Me A Minute.” Her most recent release, “doomsday,” uses the concepts of death and funerals to represent the ending of a relationship. That is pure genius. 

Of course, there’s no shame in resorting back to sad staples like “champagne problems” by Taylor Swift, “Godspeed” by Frank Ocean, “Cherry Wine” by Hozier and “All I Want” by Kodaline. That’s what I’ll be listening to, too. If you’re interested in more recommendations, check out this ten hour — oops — playlist I created called “i don’t want a hug.” 

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