A brisk chill has gripped morning commutes and first-period lectures. Light layers long packed away in storage bins have resurfaced. After months of summer, we've grown weary of chasing sweaty flesh around boat decks and dance floors. It's Cuffing Season. But there's something threatening the infamous autumn stretch of calendar: new Drake still hasn't dropped. This time last fall, we were cozying up to Nothing Was the Same, trying to find our own Courtney from Hooter's on Peachtree. In the meantime, a certain brand of "you got niggas, I got bitches" R&B has taken hold, which has its place but doesn't exactly scream late-year monogamy. So what's this year's NWTS? We pegged some possibilities, with seven fall releases primed to soundtrack your evening walks crushing leaves with someone special.
October 13th, Female Energy
RUTH SAXELBY: Don't let the noise confuse you… / There's something else if you listen, sings Robyn on "Who Do You Love," one of 10 heart-prodding songs on FADER cover star Kindness' second album, Otherness. There's a happily scrappy quality to the record, as if Kindness and his merry band of collaborators were holed up in a jazz bar after-hours, jamming into the night with the sense of joyful abandon that only comes after sharing such intimacy. It's full of perfectly imperfect moments, which is the kind of Fall feeling I wanna get cozy with.
October 7th, RCA
JESSICA ROBERTSON: There's a brooding undercurrent to Tinashe's debut album, Aquarius, which rolls its way through seductive coos and moody melodies buoyed by the 21-year-old R&B newcomer's liquid vocals. "2 On," the album's lead single and inescapable summer jam, sounds like the outlier on an album that's more suited to drowning than dancing. It's the right amount of deliciously dark for those who couldn't stomach Twigs but are hungry for some breathy, heated jams on chilled nights.
Dan Bodan, Soft
October 28th, DFA
PATRICK D. MCDERMOTT: Even though Dan Bodan's electronic pop songs are about everything from sex to the dissolution of shaky relationships, there's something truly romantic about the Berlin songwriter's attention to detail. From the saxophone noodling to his chills-inducing vocal acrobatics to the gently jarring production, Soft—his debut full-length—has a definite cuffing season soul. Don't believe me? Listen to sort-of title track "Soft as Rain"; it's lustful, uplifting and completely soul-crushing all at the same time, just like being in love.
Dionne Warwick, Feels So Good
October 28th, Bright Music
LIZ RAISS: When it's winter the only thing I like to do is throw a fake Netflix fireplace up on the TV, drink whiskey straight and light candles everywhere like some kind of functional human being. While I do this, I listen to a lot of older ladies singing, because their voices are calming and I feel like I'm doing right by them in a way I normally don't. I like Dionne Warwick's stuff, especially the songs that have a vulnerability but operate as directives: "Walk On By," "Don't Make Me Over." I'm a little attached to the older recordings but I'm definitely going to try to get down with Feels So Good, where she reworks a lot of her back catalogue, throwing newer artists into the mix. Put it on and pump it loud enough to drown out the yearning pings of those late night texts. Fuck your cuffing season, I'm a goddamn lady.
Jessie Ware, Tough Love
October 21st, PMR/Island
DEIDRE DYER: The current music market is overstuffed with quick sex, popped mollys and non-stop partying. Its pretty great that Cuffing Season deviates from the fast and furious pace of Summer loving, and leaves a little room for quality one-on-one time. To me, Jessie Ware's new album Tough Love perfectly suits this intimate shift of gears. The newlywed singer is injecting a healthy dose of raw emotion and a little bit of tenderness into my formerly ratchet rotation.
DUNCAN COOPER: A year since Drake is big, but two years since Miguel is hitting me just as hard. Kaleidoscope Dream holds up spectacularly, and enough time has passed by now that hearing the album cues up the same feeling as a memory of a lost fling. “Where’s the Fun in Forever” remains a cuffing anthem par excellence. I've got a feeling Miguel's a stockpile of new ammo, just waiting for the signal to fire it off; fingers crossed for this fall. Satisfying in the meantime, in a similar spirit, is Luke James’ self-titled debut, with “I Want You,” “Make Love to Me” and the post-cuffy “Exit Wounds,” songs with titles that need no further explanation. But here's his take if you're curious.
MATTHEW TRAMMELL: By no stretch of the imagination should Lil B's music be categorized as R&B, but at the same time, his tireless dedication to love, positivity, and the genuine connections between humans feels apt. If a young woman does steal my heart between now and December, I hope she'll appreciate Brandon's teachings as much as I do, and be down for lowkey evenings with Ultimate Bitch, his upcoming, trend-setting full-length. Liz says I'll never get cuffed with that attitude, and she's probably right.