October. The month revolving around pumpkin spice when the goth folks are the in-thing, and Halloween looms eerily on the horizon. For those not quite ready to put on a soundtrack of exclusively Marilyn Manson just yet, there are other fall moods that the songs will bring to the table.
Whether you're longing for cooler nights and harvest moons or hanging onto the last of the warm days, this list is for you.
11. Icarus - “October"
Several bands, including deadmau5, have ambient music tracks themed around the month of October. Icarus has perhaps crafted the best of these productions, offering a house music track that is the perfect background music to the month ahead. The smooth, danceable tune has the perfect backing sound for both a dinner party and jam session. If Icarus isn't already on your radar, after hearing their moody take on house music, they will be.
10. Yellowcard - "October Nights"
For much of the country, October brings crisp nights and falling leaves. In Yellowcard's world, it's a warm night with a shared blanket and young love. The band's distinctive punk rock style shines through, a welcome comfort to fans and those still living in the early 2000s alike. The song sounds like a pleasing blend between the band's famed "Ocean Avenue" and the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack feature "Gifts and Curses" -- or, in other words, it sounds like youth and exuberance.
9. Amy Winehouse - “October Song”
Just as Amy Winehouse has flown away from us too soon, in her "October Song" her little bird has left. The delightful song serves as a lullaby dedicated to her long-lost pet, or whatever deeper meaning the listener needs glean from it. Just like Ava, her bird has found paradise in the song, so too we hope Amy has. While Winehouse was famed for her bluesy side, such as on "Rehab," "October Song" offers us another side to her with its more lighthearted vibe and sing-song vocals (think Kate Nash or early Lily Allen, without the crass language).
8. The Helio Sequence - "October"
The Portland, Oregon group The Helio Sequence has done it again, with another of their "month themed" songs, having also produced a "December" in the past. As Helio Sequence reminds us, the day will rise again, no matter what befalls us. Just what some of us might be needing to hear amongst the autumn blues. The bright, upbeat sound of this song is the perfect companion to fall car rides, walks in the park, or that late night midterm study session you've been putting off.
7. Barry Manilow - “When October Goes”
Crooner Barry Manilow has even joined in on the October chill, reminiscing over lost love as the days grow steadily shorter. While many of us are wishing October away to move on to the holiday season, Manilow keeps hanging on - he hates to see October go. Manilow might be feeling his heartbreak on this track, but he disguises it well: in classic Barry fashion, the song sounds altogether happy.
6. Pet Shop Boys - "My October Symphony”
Pet Shop Boys are, clearly, no strangers to dance music. "My October Symphony" is no exception, but while you can still get your groove on to this tune, it offers a more focused and mellow side of Pet Shop Boys that many haven't heard before. The 1990 track is heralded by many fans as the band's best work yet. Look past the group's frenetic hits and enjoy this track, which sounds eerily enough like Duran Duran that, if it weren't for the synths kicking in at the right moment, you might have to double take who you're listening to.
5. James Taylor - “October Road”
Singer/songwriter James Taylor delights on this late-career song, from his fifteenth album of the same title. Taylor takes us on a journey back home, while the troubles of the world just fall on by the wayside. Sweet life back in the country just might be what we all need come the turn of fall. Taylor has nailed the feel of childhood, relaxed days, and the satisfaction of a hardworking life. His sound here supplants him firmly between singer-songwriter and country solo star.
4. Roy Harper - "October The 12th"
This historic track offers a vintage retrospective of music circa 1966, a welcome respite from a collection of songs otherwise heavily focused on the 2000s and on. In the span of just six minutes, Harper questions religion, fakers, haters, mortality, life, death, and more. In a world of songs lacking substance, Harper is a pleasant look back on the days when songs actually had some meaning and should give listeners something to think about this October. If you love Dylan and The Animals, with a touch of Peter Paul and Mary, this track draws comparisons between the sound of all three.
3. Ron Pope - "October Trees"
For some of the artists on this list, the connotation with October is unclear. Not for Ron Pope, whose hauntingly beautiful "October Trees" uses the fall of colored leaves as a metaphor for his lover's fallen grace. Pope's breakup drama becomes our audio mirth on this clever track from his album Atlanta. The track sounds timeless, and could as easily have been written in the 1990s as today. In addition to bridging eras, Pope's sound also defies genre and will be found pleasing to fans of any type of music.
2. U2 - “October"
Bearing an entire album under the name October, for many, the first band thought of in reference to this month is U2. For a band known for their complex productions, the beauty of "October" comes from its breathtaking simplicity. The track comes in at barely over two minutes and focuses on a piano composition and Bono's poetic words denoting trees stripped bare. The sound of simple piano work and Bono's melodic youthful voice will fill your ears and your heart.
1. Broken Bells - "October"
Underneath the poppy surface, Broken Bells' "October" is a dark tale of lonely childhoods and broken friendships. It hurts to grow up, and Broken Bells will remind us just how unavoidable that is, all tied in under the pale light of an autumn moon. No other track could be a more appropriate theme song for the month of October than this moody masterpiece by Broken Bells. While the words alone may feel eerie, Broken Bells have cleverly crafted a musical depth that will wash over you and draw you into its layered existence. The sounds of keyboards, guitars, and even simulated electronic vibes courtesy of the group's own Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse set Broken Bells, and "October," apart from the rest of the indie genre.