Eight fall classics: An autumn playlist for Thanksgiving
4. The Kinks - "Autumn Almanac" from Kinks Kronikles
Even when Ray Davies was young, he was old. On this cult classic, an old geezer rhapsodizes about caterpillars, sweeping leaves into a sack and other mundane tasks of the season. But it's all okay, because after the raking, he can look forward to tea and "toasted, buttered currant buns." With better detail than most novelists and a great music hall chorus, The Kinks illumine a quiet corner of life usually passed over in British rock. Except by Queen. Kidding!
3. Fall Out Boy - "Grand Theft Autumn" from Take This to Your Grave
Even funny-looking emo boys with questionable taste in hats aren't immune to the effects of fall. Most particularly, Fall Out Boy. On this bracing pop-punk rocker, Patrick Stump wails about (what else?) a girl who's with the wrong guy. Fall is never mentioned explicitly on this song, but 'Grand Theft' does have a truly autumnal vibe. "You were the last good thing about this part of town," Stump sings. It's all about lasts. Last chances, last months and hopefully, the last time Stump sports that just-had-electroshock-therapy-haircut. And in case, I haven't made it clear: a great freaking song.
2. Frank Sinatra - "Autumn In New York" from Come Fly With Me
When he wasn't smoking or sucker punching unsuspecting journalists, Ol' Blue Eyes apparently sang. And well. Here, against the lush orchestration of Nelson Riddle, Frank croons about fall in Manhattan; when the trees are turning and the muggers wear weather-appropriate sweaters. This Vernon Duke classic seems designed for Sinatra. Like the fedora he wears on the album cover. Which sets up an interesting comparison with Fall Out Boy. We've come very far with recording techniques. But made such little progress with hats.
1. Van Morrison - "Autumn Song" from Hard Nose the Highway
Don't be fooled by the worst cover art in rock history. Or the many slack tunes on this follow-up to St. Dominic's Preview. What was my point again? Oh yeah, this is a beautifully-nuanced, jazzy celebration of fall pleasures by one of rock's few reigning geniuses. He sports both a great musical gift and the personality of that cantankerous troll who lived underneath the bridge. Still, here, the notes fall like brown leaves, Van's phrasing is humorous and easygoing. And who else describes the sun as having "glamor"? Only Van, who can make a season sound like a life-changing event. Hopefully, he's finally ditched the mirror-studded leisure suit he wore at The Last Waltz. That noxious ensemble could make you forget anything. Yes. Even glorious Autumn. The season now upon us.
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