An October Playlist


Brooke J. Freundschuh, Arts & Entertainment Editor

One of my all time favorite pastimes is creating playlists. I am all for creating a diverse music library, but sometimes it can be overwhelming to put every song you have ever loved on shuffle on an average day. There is so much in a song, whether it serve as the background music or as the unspoken words of your own biography. A song written about one thing can live a million different lives through listeners. The “he” and “she”s can be given a million names. In the end, we all have a soundtrack for different phases or seasons or our life.

Many of my playlists are just smaller versions of my library, as they have no theme and consist of whatever random blend of songs  I care for at the particular moment, but the true beauty in forming a collection of songs is to make a soundtrack for a time, place, person, moment or feeling.  To hear a song and be transported to a memory, even the smallest, seemingly insignificant moment in time, is the quality that makes music an art form. Genuine lyricism over hand-crafted instrumentals paint unforgettable pictures that still hang from the walls of the mind decades later.

Many people have created fall playlists of soft, acoustic, coffee shop style songs that are reminiscent of fall’s coziness, and many are full of songs specifically chosen for Halloween, whether they tell scary stories or feature the scores of Halloween films. This playlist has both, and other things as well. This playlist captures the essence of October in a genre-bending whirlwind of tunes. Just plug in and enjoy.


1. King Harvest- Dancing in the Moonlight

To me, this track feels like a sequel to or a continuation of the magic in Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September”, despite differences in style. When I hear this track I am instantly transported to a a place of twinkling lights and pumpkin patches and lovestruck teenagers dancing barefoot on the grass, and of course, a beautiful full moon “Dancing in the Moonlight” will have you on your feet and ready to celebrate the season. Many prefer Toploader’s more modern cover of it, so check that out if the original is not for you.

2. Billie Eilish- bury a friend

If you are a fan of Billie Eilish, like me, you probably played this song non-stop after its release and may have grown tired of it from overplay. Now, over a year later, I am finally able to return to it and appreciate its picturesque story over its percussion and bass. It’s lyrics, while simple question death, specifically the death of a friendship.

3. Michael Jackson- Smooth Criminal

I know that in every other playlist ever, this spot would be given to “Thriller”, and yes, “Thriller” would be a good addition to this playlist, however, “Smooth Criminal” and its cinematic presence has always haunted me more. It is my favorite song by Jackson, and it’s eerie vibes laced over irresistible instrumentals leaves it’s listener curious.

4. Maggie Rogers- Overnight

This reminiscent track by up and coming American pop singer/songwriter, Maggie Rogers, is brutally honest, yet led by blind faith. She admits the mistakes of a prior relationship, while simultaneously admitting that she is not ready to give up on the connection between her and the other person for good.

5. The Eagles- Witchy Woman

Rock and Roll legends Glenn Frey and Don Henley took to this track to talk about a captivating California woman. Many speculate that this song is about classic rock’s “witchy woman” herself, Stevie Nicks, but unfortunately, due to the timelines of Nick’s rise to fame with Fleetwood Mac, it is made impossible for her to be the subject of the song, despite having been romantically involved with both Henley and guitarist Joe Walsh. However, the song fits Nicks to a tee and should continue to be her theme song.

6. Fleetwood Mac- Rhiannon

“This is a song about an old Welsh witch!” a twenty-something Stevie Nicks would shout before performing one of her most memorable tracks. The song that dazzled fans and Mick Fleetwood himself serves as the perfect, magical track for October. “She rules her life like a bird in flight” rings true as an anthem for women almost 40 years later.

7. Florence and the Machine-

Sky Full of Song

Speaking of ‘Welch’ witches, “Sky Full of Song” is the first single off of their most recent record, “High As Hope”. From the isolated vocals that open the track to its harmonious close, this song is hauntingly stunning.

8. Blink 182- I Miss You

Chock -full of creepy references and the idea to have “Halloween on Christmas”, Blink 182’s pop-punk classic tune is an October anthem.

9. Halsey- Graveyard

This song’s obvious references to the graveyard give it an obvious spooky feel, but instead of talking about “monsters” or “ghosts”, “Graveyard” tells the story of a woman haunted by her past relationship and the horrors of watching a relationship deteriorate in front of you. Halsey  seemingly loses herself in the process, and she knows it, but she just keeps running. This track beautifully addresses toxic relationships in a way that only Halsey can.

10. Tori Amos- Crucify

This track is probably long forgotten or never known in the first place to this generation, as it was released in 1992 and only receives airtime on 90s radio stations. However, this is not an old song that deserves to be buried. Amos pleads for relief as she feels suppressed by her own thoughts and insecurities. 

11. My Chemical Romance- The Sharpest Lives

What better time than October to unleash your inner (or express your outer) emo? Dress up in black, because we are joining the black parade. This entire album fits this playlist and the Halloween aesthetic, but this song is one that has always stuck out as a favorite to me. Nothing beats vampire Romeo and Juliet during spooky season, right?

12. Lorde- 400 Lux

Seven years later, Lorde’s “Pure Heroine” that she released at age 16, is still poetic and beautiful and is thematically a perfect album for fall. “400 Lux”, like the rest of the album is a depiction of teenage life and the thoughts and feelings of a teenager in a suburban area who dreams of bigger things while suffering boredom.

13. Taylor Swift- All Too Well

But alas, if a heartbreak in the fall had a soundtrack, it would be this. This track is my  personal favorite track in the Taylor Swift discography and the one that many refer to as Swift’s best work. “All Too Well” rehashes the best memories of a relationship that is defined by the scarf, “autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place” and “plaid shirt days and nights”, but quickly transcends into a desperate plea for closure. You can hear the emotion in Swift’s voice as she describes the never ending fall she is mentally trapped in.

14. Tom Petty- Mary Jane’s Last Dance

If you have seen the music video for this song, you probably do not doubt why this track has a perfect place on this list, but even aside from its unforgetable video, Mary Jane dances away with the last memories of summer.

15. Hayley Williams- Creepin’

This year, Paramore front-woman Hayley Williams wowed critics and fans alike with her first solo album release. It is obvious why “Creepin’” is a good fit for this playlist, but it serves as an interesting tune that touches on obsession with another.

16. Stevie Nicks- Crystal (For Practical Magic)

A song that originally debuted on “Buckingham Nicks” in 1973, was repressed onto Fleetwood Mac’s self titled record, and rerecorded again by Stevie Nicks on the soundtrack for 1998’s beloved film, “Practical Magic”, this tune is the stuff legends are made of. “I have changed, oh, but you, you remain ageless,” Nicks sings in a true testament to this magical track that still feels like stepping into a moonlit forest of dancing fairies reflecting on a lake after all this time.

17. Jack White- Lazaretto

The American guitar god himself pulls the listener into the nonsensical world inside of his own head in the title track for his second solo record. Its guitar rifts and production can be felt throughout the body as you listen to it. And that one line, “quarantined on the island, man, and I’m trying to escape any way that I can,” hits a little too close to home in 2020.

18. The Red Hot Chili Peppers- Scar Tissue

“Scar Tissue”’s soft opening chords and easy-going spirit feel like a fall breeze to listen to, and lyrics “Autumn’s sweet; we call it fall. I’ll make it to the moon if I have to crawl,” remain on my forever favorite list.

19. Pink Floyd-  Brain Damage

In the midst of plastic pumpkins and bedsheet ghosts, the real horror is losing one’s own mind. This idea is made a reality in this nearly four minute track

20. 5 Seconds of Summer- Teeth

“Fight so dirty, but your loves so sweet. Talk so pretty, but your heart’s got teeth.” 5 Seconds of Summer sings in their tumultuous love song that is ironically creepy enough for fall

21. Brand New- Millstone

This track is one off of another album that screams “fall vibes.” “Millstone” tells the story of a mans descent into a total loss of confidence. He horrifically looks back on how he has changed as he has aged and determines that the end is near.

22. Hole- Violet

Whether you love her or hate her, or think she’s the Carole Baskin of the 90s or fiercely defend her, Courtney Love is the eternally reigning queen of grunge music, whether you believe it to be by marriage or by her genuine talent. “Violet” shines as the single from 1994’s “Live Through This”, released only a few days after Kurt Cobain’s death, which is creepy enough to land it a spot.

23. Fall Out Boy- Grand Theft Autumn/ Where is Your Boy

Nothing hits harder than losing your girlfriend to some other guy after the summer passes, at least not if you are Fall Out Boy in 2003. This classic will take you all the way back to your best middle school heartbreak.

24. Lord Huron – The Night We Met

In case you are not feeling heartbroken and nostalgic enough after this playlist, listen to Lord Huron’s alternative modern classic.

25. Halsey-Control

I tried to refrain from featuring the same artists twice, but there are many tracks in Halsey’s discography that are perfect for this playlist. “Control” uses horrific illustrations and intense sound effects to express Halsey’s never-ending fight to take charge over her bi-polar disorder and other mental conflicts induced by trauma. She screams back at her thoughts, fighting them for control.