Beach House, seasonal depression, and me
I guess it’s autumn. I guess it’s going to get dark at 2pm soon and the rain will get heavier but stay warm. Your usual walks to and from campus (or work, or the stationary shop you like to visit when you’re feeling rough) they feel much longer than they used to, and you’re thankful for that. It’s a particularly nostalgic season; nostalgia heightened by the constant choice of burnt autumnal colours and extra cups of coffee that are spiced in some way. It’s the season to put the heat on for slightly longer in the evenings, for wrapping up in your long jacket you’ve retired since last year, for smoking a cigarette whose exhale lasts for much longer than usual (even though it freezes one of your hands slightly). This is the glorious time we like to refer to as Beach House Season.
To clarify: the Beach House I’m concerned with specifically are the Baltimore synth-rock band who have created the kind of music that beautifully accompanies all experiences of autumn, good or bad. The synthesizers, the single line of heavy electric guitar in each song, the minor openings concluding in major endings. Beach House, an extraordinary Sub Pop band, have got this season covered. From their self-titled debut album to 2018’s release 7, the American duo have encapsulated the feeling of fall in each compilation of songs they’ve ever worked on. The perfect combination of softness and pessimism, the knowing of the distinct coldness in the atmosphere, literally and otherwise, the feeling of autumn is synonymous with the songs of Beach House.
Take Care from their third album reminds us that we're strong enough to enjoy the frost as well as be fearful for what the winter weather will bring. The staccato piano and the grizzly voice of Victoria Legrand, as well as the shining backing vocals bring to the soul a hot cup of tea on a freezing cold evening. You Came to Me is my personal favourite, followed closely by All Your Yeahs. The insistent beat of the drum machine creates an enduring and nervous atmosphere, countered by the single guitar and resounding synth following the same rhythm. Their cover of Daniel Johnston's Some Things Last a Long Time adopts the disarming and fragile style of Johnston himself, but with the added layer of protection from Legrand, her masculine grovel - parallel to the warming thought of the winter snow that's approaching - gives us an immoveable body to latch on to.
Of all the seasons we endure, autumn is the period in which we get closest to faltering; indulging in sad folk music, almost giving in to the enticement to listen to the songs that (sort of) break your heart. To avoid landing yourself in this well of avoidable sadness, I present Beach House as my alternative. The entry into darker days and colder nights can be extra hellish for a lot of people, along with the nervousness a lot of people feel with the holidays approaching. I rely, partially, on Beach House Season to take me out of that feeling. Knowing that the band’s discography will always be available, and to play them exclusively during the time seasonal depression hits keeps my hyper-melancholic feelings contained within their songs – the triggering of a season countered with a soothing sound that accompanied you last year, and the year before, reminding you that this is temporary, and that soon you’ll be finished. Beach House help me on my way. So instead of dreading darker nights, for the long walks home I treat myself to a band I adore that I haven't listened to for a year. I may despise the oncoming reminders that November is nearly here, but I have my secret weapon, and they're singing in my ear that better times are coming.