Monday, September 28, 2020
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Changing Our Music Tastes With the Change in Seasons

It’s autumn in California. We had some rain, some wind and the nights are getting colder and colder.
As a result, my taste in music is changing.
Many people I see on campus are trading in their short skirts for scarves and sweaters and their Rainbow flip flops for Ugg boots.
As I myself make the transition from sandals to sneakers, I also notice my suddenly elevated preference for Frou Frou and Sarah McLachlan over the usual Jet or Jimmy Eat World.
As retail stores begin stocking their shelves (all too early) with holiday gifts and decorations, I rotate the selections in my car’s CD case to allow for more room for the softer side of my musical tastes.
What I’m getting at is that during the fall and winter months, when the air is crisper and everything around me seems more fragile than it did under the hot summer sun, I revert from one musical style to another. Based on the weather, I choose my musical adventures accordingly.
During the spring and summer months, when the sun is warming up and weekends boast the opportunity for beach visits instead of hot cocoa and extra blankets at home, I’m listening to more upbeat, raucous music (well, as far as I’m concerned); this is when my love for bands like Incubus and The Used shines through most. I like to crank up the sound and drive with the top down, so to speak.
But when the weather starts cooling so much so that this wimpy Californian can’t bear the 60-degree windchill, it’s time to bust out the slow jams.
I start tapping into my otherwise dormant music collection for the likes of vintage Jewel, Tori Amos, Coldplay and acoustic Jason Mraz. When I’m already feeling contemplative on account of a slightly chilly day in mid-November, a calm musical treat like Norah Jones or Howie Day really hits the spot.
It’s also how I recognize I’d rather be wrapped in a warm blanket, cuddled up in bed than laying on a towel on the beach in my bathing suit.
Does anybody else do this?
I think it’s because there’s just something different about the air, and because music helps us express ourselves or set a mood, it is often useful to correlate the changing pace of an autumn day with softer, gentler listening pleasures.
And if you’re in the same mindset as I am, and can hear me on this one despite my difficulty in articulating what I mean, allow me to suggest some choices effective in inducing a state of solace this time of year.
The ‘Garden State’ soundtrack’s release could not have been better timed. My two obsessed roommates sigh wistfully and get faraway looks in their eyes every time they listen to it. Not only is the compilation accurately reflective of the film itself, but the careful juxtaposition of The Shins, Simon and Garfunkel and Iron and Wine’s rendition of ‘Such Great Heights’ is a masterpiece all on its own and a sure fall favorite.
On that note, another favorite listen of mine since the weather has dropped a few degrees is Frou Frou’s ‘Details,’ which boasts ‘Let Go,’ the infamously soft and whispery track from ‘Garden State.’
And I hope anyone who may have forgotten about Vanessa Carlton and her ‘A Thousand Miles’ breakthrough is ready for the comeback. Carlton’s sophomore release, ‘Harmonium,’ in stores on Nov. 9, looks like a promising home run for lilting piano relaxation, as long as the first single ‘White Houses’ is any indication of success for the rest of the album.
Even if she allegedly sold herself out with the release of ‘0304,’ don’t forget about Jewel, whose debut album, released back in 1994, still resonates quite strongly with my cold-weather musical intuition. I personally revel in ‘Don’t’ and, of course, ‘You Were Meant For Me.’
I am feeling so nostalgic that I’m even considering an investment in Billy Joel. My recommendation, if you’re feeling the same, is ‘The Essential Billy Joel,’ mostly because of featured tracks ‘Piano Man,’ ‘New York State of Mind’ and, my personal favorite, ‘The Longest Time.’ Listening to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Secret Garden’ should top you off, if you can score his ‘Greatest Hits’ or at least download the single track.
So when you’re bundling up this Thanksgiving and beyond, consider the joy of transitioning your music collection in conjunction with the changing seasons. It’ll put you at ease and likely encourage a heightened appreciation of the small stuff. You can always rotate play of A Perfect Circle or Green Day or other rock or rap artists back into your iPod after Groundhog Day says that winter is over and spring is on the way.