So I guess it’s fall now, apparently? The calendar says it is. Not seeing any crisp autumn air, though. It’s going to break 100 degrees every day next week here, but it’s technically fall nonetheless.
Songs about the season tend to be from before climate change completely broke weather as a concept so a lot of it doesn’t apply, but it also tends to be about a feeling of loss and emptiness, which absolutely resonates. It may still be summer as far as nature is concerned, but I think we’re all feeling the autumn song ennui after the month we’ve had to deal with, not to mention the year we’ve had to deal with.
I know, I said I was going to start trying to make these more cheerful. Don’t worry, the Halloween songs start next week. But for now let’s wallow for a bit with some songs of the season.
Green Day — “Wake Me Up When September Ends”
Right off the bat I’ve already cheated.
This isn’t, strictly speaking, a song about fall. It does have “September” in the title but it’s actually a mostly autobiographical ode to Billie Joe Armstrong’s father, who died when Billie Joe was 10. It also has the distinction of being an utterly unrelated song dropped into the second of Green Day’s two forays into rock operas.
I think we can all appreciate the sentiment, though. If someone could just wake us all up when September ends that’d be awesome.
Simon & Garfunkel — “Leaves That Are Green”
Yes, this year the leaves that are green mostly didn’t get a chance to turn to brown, because they either caught fire before then or are still coated with gray ash from those other leaves. But it’s a metaphor. It’s all metaphors with these guys.
I was going to make a joke about how long it’s been since I saw Paul Simon at Outside Lands so I looked it up. I thought it was two, maybe three years ago. It seems like a distant pleasant memory, a long ago time when he played with Bob Weir and did a rendition of “You Can Call Me Al” so good it made someone stand up out of a wheelchair to dance.
Turns out it was 13 months ago. Aug. 11, 2019.
Someone figure out how this year has both flown by and lasted for about 25 years.
Pharrell Williams — “Gust of Wind”
I just re-read my column from Paul Simon’s night at Outside Lands 2019 and at the end I say, “But look at the bright side. The next Outside Lands is only a year or so away.”
Oh Past Danny, you poor, sweet summer child. You don’t even know.
Anyway, did you know that Daft Punk and Pharrell’s iconic “Get Lucky” has a spiritual sequel? It’s true! This time it’s Pharrell featuring Daft Punk rather than the other way around, and by “this time” I mean “was in 2014 when it was new.”
It’s not as good, I’m sorry to say. But few things are. “Get Lucky” is fantastic. And this is still pretty good, even if it can’t live up to a song that won roughly all the Grammys. Also, it makes me feel bad because in the video Pharrell is over 40 and he looks about 25, the jerk.
Guns N’ Roses — “November Rain”
Yes, it’s not even October yet, let alone November, and it doesn’t rain in the Bay Area anymore except that one year every five when it rains way too much, but I’m feeling aspirational. Also, I always thought a band as “too-much” as Guns N Roses trying to be sensitive with flutes and whatnot is hilarious.
I mean, look at this video. They’re in a big concert hall, there’s a symphony with a conductor and everything, they’re clearly trying to be grownup, Serious Musicians. Then it cuts to a romantic wedding scene, the bride walks down the aisle… and we see that the front of her dress is cut so high it might as well be a belt. They just can’t help it. They’re so Guns N’ Roses that it shines through no matter what.
Slash plays a solo out in front of the chapel without his hat, which just seems weird. Is he even allowed to not wear the hat? I always thought it was a “Phantom of the Opera” thing and he had a horribly disfigured top half of his face.
Earth, Wind & Fire — “September”
I bring it up, first of all, because it’s the most astoundingly joyful thing you can watch. You need to see it. Watch all five, then watch them again. Trust me, you need it. You’re welcome.
Also, Adejuyigbe is using the fame his absurd series brings to raise money for some very good causes. He was trying to raise $50,000, which is a whole lot, and as of this writing he’s raised $305,413.60. Frankly, he deserves that money for himself for giving this amount of beauty to the world, but if he selflessly wants it to go to charities that’s even better. So go donate. Go now. Do it. Do it!
Oh, and here’s the actual video if you’re mad at me I didn’t link to the actual song. It’s a great song.
Follow editor Daniel J. Willis and tweet column ideas to him at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.