Six back-to-school albums to get you through the fall semester


It’s that time of year again when the air on College Hill starts to chill, and we’re all in a nostalgic mood. It’s ambient, it’s nostalgic, it’s sometimes melancholy – it’s autumn. Indeed, the annual fall music craze has arrived. Here, I’ve compiled a brief recap of some of my favorite new and old albums to get you through the fall semester.

“Any Shape You Take” by Indigo De Souza

I fell into the world of Indigo De Souza recently after a recommendation from a friend. When I heard the crisp guitar from his track “Darker Than Death”, I knew I was hooked. The North Carolina native released her second album “Any Shape You Take” in late August, a project that cemented her status as a staple in the burgeoning indie-rock scene. The album is full of catchy beats, witty lines, and rich, raw Alanis Morissette vocals, all with hazy guitar arrangements that border shoegaze territory. “Pretty Pictures,” in particular, proves to be both addicting and thoughtful, while “17” is utterly heartbreaking. It’s the perfect album for a fall stroll around campus.

“songs” by Adrianne Lenker

I can’t even begin to count the number of late nights I spent listening to this album. Although it was only released last year, the record is already one of my fall must-haves. One of Lenker’s two solo projects released last year, “songs” was written in the spring of 2020 following a breakup. The result is one of my favorite melancholy tracks to date. “Instrumentals”, Lenker’s other project in 2020, was a two-song release devoted to ambient music and arrangements, each song lasting approximately 20 minutes. “Songs”, however, showcased Lenker’s characteristic folk style and masterful lyricism, filled with images of nature and love songs. The project is intimate, beautifully written and sung with nostalgia. On “anything” Lenker hums, “And I don’t wanna talk about nothing / I don’t wanna talk about nothing / I wanna kiss, kiss your eyes again / I wanna see your eyes look. The lines perfectly sum up the desire to be alone with one person, and yet Lenker’s delivery almost implies that this desire will always remain elusive.

“Billie Holiday: The Complete Commodore Masters” by Billie Holiday

If you are looking for this album on the Internet, it will be difficult to find it. Loosely titled “Billie Holiday” on Spotify (a little pointless considering she also has two other eponymous records), I found this collection of Holiday songs on one of my blues dives. Trying to find its origins, I realized that the album was actually a compilation of songs Holiday had recorded for the music label Commmodore in the 1940s and 1950s. This record is nothing short of a classic, and Billie’s soft vocals paired with timeless lyrics and romantic piano riffs make up the perfect study soundtrack.

“Synthetic Soul” by Chiiiild

Canadian experimental soul group Chiiiild’s debut EP, “Synthetic Soul” is a dynamic, fresh and sonically innovative project. “Back To Life” is a standout, swimming in reverberated vocals and guitars. “Count Me Out” features a distinct groove, while “Easy On Yourself” sees the band become more lyrically thoughtful, with lead member Yonatan Ayal singing, “I can’t stop wondering / Where I’m going / I can’t not stop me. ”Ultimately, however, what makes the project shine is its ability to create an addictive atmosphere using eclectic instrumentation and a straightforward voice.

“Collapsed in the rays of the sun” by Arlo Parks

If there’s only one new artist you find this year, it should be Arlo Parks. Since her debut in 2018, the London-based singer-songwriter has amassed something of a cult following, finally penetrating popular and critical acclaim earlier this year with her album “Collapsed in Sunbeams”, a record that has hit her off. won a Mercury award a few weeks ago. The record is both sonically and thematically diverse, with Parks weaving effortlessly between indie and neo-soul. Citing James Baldwin’s “Giovanni’s Room” as inspiration, Parks’ lyrics showcase her abilities not only as a musician but also as a writer. On “Green Eyes,” Parks writes about the fear of homophobia and the difficulties of being a queer woman, singing, “I wish your parents were nicer to you / They made you hate what you were. by habit.”

“Motherwell” by Leith Ross

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I discovered Leith Ross’ music last week and haven’t stopped listening to it since. Ross released his debut album “Motherwell” in the summer of 2020 to a small fan base. Yet just a few weeks ago their numbers exploded due to a virus TIC Tac. The Ottawa singer-songwriter has started posting clips of song ideas to the video-sharing platform, all of them beautiful and for many absolutely heart-wrenching. “Motherwell” is a perfect example of a storyteller at work, an artist following in the footsteps of Phoebe Bridgers, Big Thief and other indie-folk giants.


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