14 Of The Best Songs About Fall: Autumn Playlist

Written by Laura Macmillan
Last updated

Can there be anything more beautiful than autumn? It’s fascinating to see all the goings-on as summer transitions into winter. The leaves change colors, the days grow shorter, and the temperature grows colder.

Nothing can depict these changes better than music. If you continue reading, you’ll learn about various songs that explore this time of the year. Each of these reflects how people feel about the season in one way or another.

So here’s our compilation of 14 of the best songs about autumn or fall. Read on!

Related: For more like these, check out our list of songs about seasons changing here.

1. “September” By Earth, Wind & Fire

More than four decades have passed, yet Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” is still popular. This was a catchy disco tune from way back in 1978.

While autumn is not the main focus, “the 21st night of September” that the song talks about is the first day of fall. The song is focused on a new love blossoming and shows a change in feelings along with the changing seasons.

This was the band’s breakout hit, and while they have released many other popular songs, “September” ranked 65th on Billboard’s 500 best songs of all time. The song also tends to make a resurgence every year, unsurprisingly, around September.

2. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” By Green Day

If you’re in the mood to reminisce about something gone, listen to Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” Keep some tissues ready, though, as it can get emotional while listening to the words.

This classic song carries a melancholy tone throughout. It talks about the abstract feeling of loss, which the band describes by discussing the end of summer, and how all good things must end.

From a broader scope, this is yet another song about change. Whether it’s the seasons or relationships, the song hammers home that nothing good can stay that way forever. Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead singer, took inspiration from his father’s passing due to cancer when he was only ten years old.

3. “Harvest Moon” By Neil Young

While Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” does not mention this particular season, it is about a beautiful autumn night. Popular in the 1990s, this simple love song talks about dancing under the autumn moon.

In the lyrics, the moon symbolizes the passage of time. The singer notes that he still thinks about this love, even though the woman he is singing to is no longer in his life.

“Harvest Moon,” like many songs on this list, uses the season to describe the ending of something. Fall seems to be the perfect representation of time passing and how people cope with that.

4. “Boys Of Fall” By Kenny Chesney

There are many ways “Boys of Fall” can resonate with you, but most especially if (1) you’re from a small town with a high school football team and (2) you play the sport.

Country legend Kenny Chesney does an outstanding job of conveying the brotherly bond experienced between players. What’s more, the song captures the power the sport has in bringing the community together during the season.

The song likely pulls from Chesney’s attachment to the sport. The slower melody and lyrics give the listener a wholesome sense of nostalgia and attachment to spending autumn in a cozy hometown. This song has become a staple for many high school football games, and it’s easy to see why.

5. “Autumn Love” By Death Cab For Cutie

The term “autumn romance” is sometimes used to describe a relationship between older people. But this is not the meaning of Death Cab for Cutie’s “Autumn Love.” It uses autumn to symbolize the beginning of the end of a relationship. You will also notice that change is a big motif in the song, which fits the fall theme.

The band sings about an individual who is lost and trying to find a connection. The lyrics say that as he goes through this journey, he cannot find a deep connection with autumn love. Instead, the person decides to move on and keep pursuing what he’s looking for.

6. “A Little More Summertime” By Jason Aldean

If only we get “A Little More Summertime.” This is the sentiment that Jason Aldean talks about in this country song. It is about the end of summer and is another example of a relationship ending with the seasons changing.

Aldean sings about how he does not enjoy the “gray September days” and misses the best parts of summer. The entire song acts as an allegory, and summertime represents a relationship that the singer is no longer in.

Throughout the song, Aldean repeats how much he misses summer. He also acknowledges that the song is not about the season but about lost love, by referring to summer as “her.”

7. “Leaves That Are Green” By Simon & Garfunkel

Despite the wonders of autumn, it’s the perfect symbol for the end of something beautiful. When summer transitions to winter, the leaves change colors and eventually wither away. That’s a very apt metaphor for a relationship that’s about to end.

“Leaves that are Green” by Simon & Garfunkel is undeniably a sad love song describing a fading love. The leaves “turning from green to brown” represent how something that was once new and beautiful can become old and eventually be forgotten. T

his type of poetry is prevalent in the songs of this era, and the song as a whole has very tender vibes to it.

8. “Autumn Almanac” By The Kinks

Unlike the past few entries on this list, the Kinks’ “Autumn Almanac” takes a more literal meaning. It is not difficult to decipher and does its job of giving a pleasant description of autumn.

The lyrics describe the season as it is experienced in the United Kingdom, as well as the traditions that come with it. They mention watching football (soccer), raking the leaves that fall to the ground, and the food people eat during the fall.

Overall, the song presents autumn as a time to relax and how we should appreciate the changes that come with the season.

9. “Autumn In New York” By Ella Fitzgerald And Louis Armstrong

Here’s an oldie but a goodie song, with the jazzy piano backing the gentle vocals of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. “Autumn in New York” describes changes and new beginnings in many different ways. It also refers to the bittersweet feeling that affects people when fall rolls around.

Like many songs out there, “Autumn in New York” is open to different interpretations. But one notable fact is that there are many contradictory ideas presented in this song.

Talks of love and new experiences are immediately followed by pain and broken dreams. The song is soft and gentle but simultaneously manages to be haunting.

10. “Autumn Sweater” By Yo La Tengo

When it’s cold, we often reach for a sweater. It makes us feel warm and gives us the feeling of being safe and secure. We can say that it acts as a comfort zone.

In “Autumn Sweater,” Yo La Tengo sings about getting away from it all with someone. They use the sweater as a way to get the other person to feed into this fantasy.

Unlike some of the songs on this list, this one gives the impression that this is a budding relationship, not one that is coming to an end. Nevertheless, the singer feels a bit insecure and wants the person of his affection to be comfortable with the new relationship.

11. “We’re Going To Be Friends” By The White Stripes

If you listen closely to the lyrics of this song, you won’t hear the word autumn. However, the White Stripes’ “We’re Going to be Friends” invokes feelings of returning to school at the end of summer.

Quite simply, this song is about going back to school so it’s very relatable. We’ve been at an age when we were excited to start a new school year. It meant wearing new clothes, meeting new people, and making friends.

The band expertly encapsulates the feeling of fall, new beginnings, and a childlike sense of innocence.

12. “Autumn Leaves” By Ed Sheeran

Leave it to Ed Sheeran to create poignant songs. “Autumn Leaves” is yet another ode to losing someone. Leaves are used as a metaphor to describe a powerful feeling of loss. The true meaning is vague, and the loss could be perceived as a death or a breakup.

The lyrics can make you feel sad. But Sheeran sang it in a way that makes you accept that it’s a normal part of life. You’ll notice how he uses the word another a lot of times. This is probably to say that losing someone can be experienced by just about anybody.

13. “My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion” By The Flaming Lips

While other songs take on a sad or regretful tone, the Flaming Lips’ “My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion” is different. It talks about how everything dies when autumn comes around. This probably refers to leaves withering and the sun not shining as brightly as when it’s summer. The song tries to capture the feeling of coming to terms with a new reality.

While the lyrics begin darkly, it progresses to a more positive look at things. After the first verse, the song talks about a single bird still singing in the distance. This is likely a symbol of hope in a world that is becoming less vibrant.

Unlike the other songs on this list, this one tackles broader ideas about death, rebirth, and accepting life’s inevitabilities.

14. “The Autumn Leaves” By Nat King Cole

What do you call a song with a haunting melody, sad lyrics, and sung by one of the greatest voices of our time? Pure perfection. Many artists have covered “The Autumn Leaves” throughout the years, but Nat King Cole’s rendition is unforgettable.

Listening to the song brings back memories of this season. As Nat King Cole starts singing, you’ll imagine yourself sitting by the window looking at the “autumn leaves of red and gold.” For many people, this song reminds them of a loved one long gone.

This song may be old, but it is beautiful and timeless. Only a few songs give you chills all over. “The Autumn Leaves” is definitely one of them.

Summing Up Our List Of Autumn or Fall Songs

The changing of seasons evokes seemingly universal feelings. Some artists describe these feelings in a positive light. Others view autumn as a sad ending of an era in their songs.

Autumn is what bridges the fun summer days to the wet winter months. It is an in-between that could give us good or bad experiences. But at the end of the day, we can look at autumn as a fresh start.

If you have strong feelings about autumn, give these songs a try. Tell us which ones you like, or how one song made you feel. We’re always open to your suggestions.

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Laura has over 12 years experience teaching both classical and jazz saxophone and clarinet. She now resides in California where she works as a session and live performer.