The leaves haven’t yet begun to change color, but managing editor Lauren Wittenmyer is already in prime cardigan-wearing form. Known among friends for her affinity for cozy blankets and Ann Taylor sweaters, Lauren created a playlist that makes the listener long for nothing more than a fall day spent inside with a cup of tea.
The version of fall on Lauren’s playlist, however, isn’t the red-leaves-falling, apple-cider-drinking, pumpkin-carving type of fall that I associate with my happy childhood in Ohio. It’s more like the weird purgatory that hits some point in late November, when all of the leaves sit dead on the ground and the shadowy clouds aren’t sure if they’re going to produce snow or not.
Between Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” and Kacey Musgraves’ “Space Cowboy”—two of the first three songs on Lauren’s playlist—you’d think she’s struggling to cope with a major tragedy in her life. She’s not, for the record. Still, nearly every song on Lauren’s playlist grapples with themes of loss and heartbreak.
As if those two songs weren’t melancholic enough, Lauren then turns to Maggie Rogers and Gracie Abrams—indie-pop queens with breakup song bangers—for even more catharsis. I love sad songs as much as the next person, but Lauren took sad songs to the extreme with Abrams’ “Older” and “Camden” followed immediately by Rogers’ “Alaska.”
It’s not just regular-sad “Alaska,” though. It’s the acoustic version.
Two Taylor Swift songs bookend the playlist: First up is “Tim McGraw,” and “august” brings it home. It makes sense that Lauren, a die-hard Swiftie who spent the first two years of our friendship indoctrinating me until I was one, too, would pick one of Swift’s sadder songs as the bookends of her playlist.
But sad songs don’t affect Lauren like they do the rest of us—even in the most depressing fall weather. Between us, I’m not convinced she’s ever cried.