Intern Picks of the Week — Sad Girl Autumn

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October has just about passed us by as we are only days away from November. Skies are gray, leaves are changing, and temperatures are dropping. Seasonal change is commonly associated with emotional change, and these songs are here to help us navigate our own feelings. Get cozy, maybe grab some tissues, and prepare to be in your feels.

Katie’s Pick: Lizzy McAlpine – “ceilings”

My pick for Sad Girl Autumn week is “ceilings” by Lizzy McAlpine. “ceilings” is from McAlpine’s sophomore album Five Seconds Flat. I became a fan of Lizzy McAlpine in late 2021 upon the release of Five Seconds Flat. My friend Avery played me another track off of the album “reckless driving (ft. Ben Kessler),” and I immediately hooked on to her music.

Lizzy McAlpine, to me, is Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift rolled into one. Her masterful lyrics create perfect pictures of the late-teen/early twenties experience. I feel seen. Last month, I had the fortunate opportunity to see McAlpine at the Basement East and was moved to tears. I knew it the minute I walked in. Her music feels like Fall and makes you want to cry. Isn’t that what sad girl autumn is all about?

“ceilings” is a song about a cinematic type of love. McAlpine spends the whole track explaining how great the love is and how she doesn’t want to ruin it. However, during the last chorus, you realize this love was never true. The love was a dream out of loneliness. These heart-wrenching lyrics, accompanied by moving strings, made me want to start sobbing the first time I heard the song. As someone in a single person in their twenties, I related to it hard. You can listen to “ceilings” by Lizzy McAlpine below, but keep a box of tissues nearby.

Mikayla’s Pick: Yebba – “October Sky”

Yebba is one of the most vulnerable writers I listen to. Her vocal and storytelling abilities are undeniably raw and immersive. The song is one of twelve tracks that collectively navigate feelings of sorrow, confusion, and betrayal. The album’s title, “Dawn,” is named after her mother who tragically passed away in October of 2016. Born from the stages of grief, the album explores the realities of the healing process that follow loss.

The song’s opening verse is reminiscent, vividly noting a fond childhood memory of her mother. She continues, singing directly to her mother, sharing ways she copes with her loss. Her carefully intentional phrasing contrasts the pleasant past with the painful present. In the second verse, Yebba sings about blending into the crowd, while at the same time, feeling helplessly alone. She closes the song, holding onto the good times while still looking ahead in an effort to accept, heal, and move on.

Michael’s Pick: Julien Baker — “Shadowboxing”

Forged in the flames of the 2010s emo renaissance, Julien Baker’s 2017 album Turn Out the Lights sounds like a 40-minute window into a crisp Tennessee autumn day. Specifically, “Shadowboxing” features a twinkly, distorted guitar riff that evokes a tree-lined sidewalk full of golden-brown leaves. Though the guitar’s warmth brings to mind the calming colors of fall, Baker’s vocals point towards the darkness that prevails through late autumn. By so perfectly pinpointing the melancholy that accompanies the end of summer, Baker has crafted a certified sad girl autumn classic.

Centering the theme of the song, Baker draws a connection between mental illness and the act of shadowboxing. Much in the same way that the shadowboxer throws punches at an invisible enemy, those fighting mental illnesses are often waging war against something that few other people can see or understand. However, Baker implores the listener to look upon this fight with empathy, as the enemy may prove just as dangerous as a physical foe