An Autumn State of Mind

The eternally sexy Jeff Buckley is my version of fall: no lightweight summer fling — he’s the angsty, vulnerable, aloof boy next door. I want to borrow his jacket and “forget” to return it.

Every fall for a number of years on Facebook (before Bonnie’s Mixed Tape existed), I featured my favorite versions of the extraordinary “Autumn Leaves.”

No other song feels more like fall to me than this song. I listen to it year-round, but it’s more special in September through November.

Always forlorn and eternally exquisite.

In fact, I did feature it in a story last fall, so today’s story is highlighting only one version of “Autumn Leaves.”

The remaining songs are an eclectic collection that only I would put together. This is how my ear hears fall…

Believe it or not, I’ve never heard Frank Sinatra’s interpretation of “Autumn Leaves.” I was listening to a variety of new-to-me covers and stumbled upon his version. Well, actually there are a few different versions by Old Blue Eyes, but this one is my favorite.

I was teary-eyed within a minute and knew I had my winner. This one aches in its beautiful pain. Y’all know I’m a sucker for that. Swoony, sigh-inducing perfection.

Jeff Buckley delivers his hallmark ethereal, haunting vocal on Elton John’s “We All Fall in Love Sometimes.” I have to admit that this one wasn’t on my radar, but since finding it recently, I’ve been putting it on repeat for late night listenings.

Sparse but filled with melody, vulnerability, and authenticity. He was so effortless, wasn’t he?

Peter Murphy doesn’t do summery, beachy music. Instead, his “Deep Ocean Vast Sea” reminds me of the rugged Irish coast.

When I studied in London in the early 90’s, my best pal and I visited Galway, taking a small ferry to the remote Aran Islands in late November.

Vibrant green grass; low, crumbling, rocky walls; the ruins of an ancient castle abutting the cliff’s edge down to the churning sea.

That day was quiet and windy. The island was a special place — I hope to make it back there someday.

The Wild Swans had some mild college radio play in the States, but never found any further acclaim.

I, however, ADORE the Wild Swans!

Paul Simpson is one of my favorite vocalists from that late 80's/early 90’s scene. He croons, swoons, and soars.

The Wild Swans encapsulate my beloved British jangly guitar music in all its shimmery glory! “Northern England” is lovely, sweepy, and deliciously dreary.

As if Mayer Hawthorne would ever fail to deliver something less than awesome! An airy, sleek, funky take on 80’s anthem, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”

Oh, this 5 minute masterpiece of a soundtrack! It’s stunning. John Barry delivers something that doesn’t feel like the 60’s or the 80’s. You can’t pinpoint the era, which was a brilliant decision.

If I’m correct, this plays during the scene with Peggy Sue and Michael under the stars.

Romantic. It is utterly romantic! Not too sweet, not overtly sexy. There’s a grace and a beauty to it with moments of sensuality. It’s confident and sophisticated. It doesn’t try too hard.

Though the film itself is quirky, I must acknowledge that seeing it through the lens of my 40’s gives me a new appreciation.

It’s truly one of the finest moments of any 80’s soundtrack. And chances are you’ve forgotten it entirely. Honestly, it’s so multi-layered that you must listen to it several times to appreciate how special it is.

Is it just me? I hear traces of Mark Knopfler’s music from The Princess Bride.

In any case, that wistfulness beneath the romance feels like quiet fall days…or nights.

Did you know that the Beach Boys cranked out this lovely song in 2012?!?

Summer’s Gone” is breathtaking. The melody and harmonies hold up against their work from the Pet Sounds era. It harkens to the 60’s but doesn’t quite belong to any decade. I love that!

This song captures the final rays of summer’s glow marking the end of the summer season. You can see the California sun low in the sky, the temperature’s subtle shift, the mood at the beach more low-key.

The harmonies are so blinding in their beauty that I don’t feel sadness as much as acceptance.

Happy Fall, Y’all!

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Bonnie Barton

Bonnie Barton

Queen of mixtapes. Lover of music, travel, and fashion. Authentic sharer of life lessons and dating foibles.