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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, March 3, 2024

What's the Mood?: Spooky Season

It’s officially spooky season! I won’t be dropping the Halloween playlist until the end of the month, but now’s the time to start getting hyped. The weather is getting crisper, the trees are starting to turn red (or so I’ve been told) and the existential dread that comes with realizing it’s almost the ‘20s is reaching its full strength. I’d say that last one might just be me, although let’s face it, it definitely isn’t. But don’t worry about that because here are some songs to get you in the October mood. 

  1. “Happy Together” by The Turtles
  2. “Elenore” by The Turtles
  3. “For Emma” by Bon Iver
  4. “Green Aisles” by Real Estate
  5. “Jack and Blow” by Atta Boy
  6. “Danny’s Song” by Loggins & Messina
  7. “I’ll Be Your Girl” by The Decemberists
  8. “Roots” by The Arcadian Wild
  9. “Leaves That Are Green” by Simon and Garfunkel
  10. “Dreams” by The Cranberries
  11. “Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying” by Belle and Sebastian
  12. “Living/Breathing” by Mesita
So what’s up with the two Turtles songs? I’m sure many people have heard “Happy Together” (1967) before, a song which exudes autumnal vibes. Even though it’s a poppy love song, with its minor key, slightly creepy undertones and breathy, almost ghastly background singing, it has a darker side than its lyrics might suggest, which is fitting for the weeks preceding Halloween. While it’s not on the same level of festiveness as a song like “Monster Mash” (1962), it’s a good transition song into that mood. I also included “Elenore” (1968), another Turtles song, because it sounds quite similar to “Happy Together” in that respect and not by accident. After the success of “Happy Together,” their record label wanted them to keep pumping out more poppy music, but the band wanted to diversify its musical output. In response, the Turtles recorded the album “The Turtles Present the Battle Of The Bands” (1968) in which each song was a different genre (and attributed to a fake band). They wrote “Elenore” for that album as a satire of “Happy Together,” with lyrics such as “you’re my pride and joy, et cetera.” And while they wrote it as a joke, it became their second biggest hit — which doesn’t have much to do with October, but I just thought it was a funny story worth sharing.

As much as I love the spookiness of Halloween, there’s also another side to this time of the year: the harvesty, folksy pastimes of apple-picking and corn mazes, and all that other scrapbook stuff, reflected in songs like “Roots.” “Roots” (2015) was written by The Arcadian Wild, a folk music band from Nashville, Tenn. The defining instruments in most of their songs are the mandolin and violin, yet their music retains an element of modernity to it, which creates a distinct modern folk sound. If you want to get into folk music without diving too far into the deep end, then The Arcadian Wild is a great band to introduce you to the genre without sounding too unfamiliar. 

So, have a great October, and if anyone has good Halloween costume ideas, please send them my way.

If you want to listen on Spotify, here's the link: http://bit.ly/TDoctober.