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by Annie Zaleski

November 16, 2013

Hip Songs for the Pumpkin Season

by Annie Zaleski  |  November 16, 2013

Contrary to popular belief, there are three major things celebrated in the fall: Halloween, Thanksgiving and pumpkin season. The latter is broad enough to include coffee, beer, baked goods and porch decorations, which means that any commemorative playlist should also have variety. Thankfully, the pumpkin-name-checking songs out there deliver diversity. The mournful soundtrack work of Randy Newman and Vince Guaraldi gives way to progressive rock excursions (Frank Zappa, Tangerine Dream, Buckethead), seedy electronica (Tricky, New Order side project Revenge), indie swoons (Silver Scooter, Helvetia, The Spinto Band) and noisy rock (Male Bonding, Kid Congo).

Of course, these gourd-associated tunes aren't always festive. John Prine's "Daddy's Little Pumpkin" (covered by Drive-By Truckers and Josh Ritter) is a twisted, bitter country tune, while XTC's "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" wraps the tale of a tragic do-gooder in sweet pop harmonies, and the soul-pop obscurity "Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" is about unrequited love with a slightly obsessive twist. And, of course, no list would be complete without a couple of tunes from the mischievous patron saint of the season: Smashing Pumpkins.

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