As summer turns to fall, our food tastes tend to change (and it’s the only way you can explain some of those pumpkin-spice lattes). Our musical tastes tend to change as well, and while good music is good music, there are some songs that just feel especially fitting as we move from the beaches to the apple orchards. In honor of the musically overlooked season, we’ve created a six-song playlist that’s best to listen to throughout autumn.
1. “Pale September” by Fiona Apple
As the seasons change, we consciously link our awareness to nature’s cycles, and an understanding of our own cycles begin to deepen. No song exemplifies this change like Apple’s “Pale September.” With lyrics such as “The autumn days swung soft around me/like cotton on my skin/But as the embers of the summer lost their breath and disappeared/my heart went cold and only hollow rhythms resounded from within,” the song is about letting down your guard in love and embracing change.
2. “Tonight, Tonight” by Smashing Pumpkins
Billy Corgan’s teahouse Madame ZuZu’s has always been strictly plant-based, but recently he’s been talking about being vegan himself now, too. The singer/guitarist/songwriter has worked and helped raise funds for PAWS Chicago, so his cruelty-free transformation is not a surprise. With lyrics such as “And our lives are forever changed/We will never be the same/The more you change the less you feel,” this classic Smashing Pumpkins song offers encouragement to be true to yourself and to believe. Apparently, Corgan has taken his own advice. To that, we say kudos.
3. “Adore You” by Miley Cyrus
In “Adore You,” the actress/singer/activist (who went vegan once she realized that her fish and pig were intelligent, sentient beings) is singing about how strong her love is for her partner. And with lyrics such as “Baby, baby, are you listening?/Wondering where you’ve been all my life/I just started living/Oh, baby, are you listening?/When you say you love me/Know I love you more/And when you say you need me/Know I need you more/Boy, I adore you, I adore you,” it’s easy to assume she might also be singing about that feeling we all get when we ask ourselves why we didn’t go vegan sooner.
4. “Burn the Pages” by Sia
We’ve known that singer/songwriter Sia Furler is kind-hearted ever since she decided to go vegan, but lyrics such as “Place your past into a book/Burn the pages/let them cook” can represent a person’s transition into veganism. When we decided to go plant-based, we have to let go of the guilt of our previous carnivorous ways. At this point, similar to the words Sia sings, we know we need to be less hard on ourselves to fully embrace our new (cruelty-free!) lives.
5. “I’ve Just Seen a Face” by The Beatles
Singer bassist Sir Paul McCartney is no stranger to the world of meat-free meals—his powerful narration of PETA’s “Glass Walls” video illustrates his notion that “if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegan. Similarly, lyrics such as “I can’t forget the time or place/Where we just met/She’s just the girl for me/And I want all the world to see” is like the first time you realize that being vegan is the best life decision you could ever make.
6. “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
Mraz decided to become vegan to support his friend who found out he had type 2 diabetes. Now, the singer/songwriter sticks to eating mostly raw foods, with one of his signature dishes being “Chocomole,” a mixture of avocados, dates, cacao, agave nectar, and coconut oil. In “I Won’t Give Up,” Mraz uses many literary terms to express his feelings, and in the beginning of the song, he uses the simile “like watching the night skies” to compare the eyes of the girl he loves to a clear fall night sky: “I won’t give up on us/Even if the skies get rough/I’m giving you all my love I’m still looking up, I’m still looking up.” The passion in the song is the same passion vegans have for animals and their rights and reminds us that no matter what the situation, we won’t give up our fight for what we believe is right.
Michelle Siriani is a plant-based chef and graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City, a pastry chef at Peacefood Cafe, a recipe tester, writer, and food blogger.