Between the weather cooling and school starting, summer’s end inspires an existential sadness in many. But there’s also many good times that the month of September brings.
September songs cash in on the month’s inherent bittersweet nature. Below we look at the best songs about September and discuss what makes them so memorable and fantastic.
1. “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire
Song Year: 1978
Earth, Wind, and Fire wrote the definitive song about the ninth month. “September” is a rollicking disco tune that’s sure to make listeners dance.
One of the band’s biggest hits, “September” has straightforward pop lyrics. The singer celebrates a joyous September 21st he shared with his partner. The upbeat disco-funk song contains a gleeful, gibberish chorus.
“September” was a massive hit, charting globally. Kirk Franklin released a highly successful cover of the song in 2007.
2. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day
Song Year: 2005
“Wake Me Up When September Ends” introduced the world to a maturing Green Day. The pop-punk band transcended their juvenile origins with the bittersweet power ballad.
Billie Joe Armstrong composed the song about losing his father to cancer. The poignant lyrics examine loss and the fleeting nature of time. Listeners identified with the song’s sincerity; the tune was a massive, worldwide hit.
Green Day included the platinum-certified song on their seventh album, American Idiot.
3. “Nightswimming” by R.E.M.
Song Year: 1992
“Nightswimming,” R.E.M.’s autumn lullaby, is one of Michael Stipe’s most accessible songs. The piano-driven piece is a melancholy ode to youth and opportunity.
While Mike Mills and Michael Stipe argue about the song’s inspiration, listeners focus on the universal sense of longing delivered through the lyrics. Of course, “Nightswimming” takes place during September; what time of year is more bittersweet?
“Nightswimming” was a modest success, charting in Australia, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Dashboard Confessional, Coldplay, Sugarland, the Wrens, and Jason Isbell notably covered the song.
4. “A Lonely September” by the Plain White Tees
Song Year: 2001
The Plain White Tees dominated the early 2000’s sensitive kid music scene. The band’s accessible brand of acoustic balladry spoke to a new generation of disaffected youth. “A Lonely September” is the platonic ideal of emo-tinged love songs.
The singer speaks directly to his former paramour. He expresses how deeply he misses her and how lost he is without their relationship. The Plain White Tees layer plaintive vocals over gentle acoustic guitars, creating a delicate and soothing soundscape.
5. “September Gurls” by Big Star
Song Year: 1974
“September Gurls” proves a song doesn’t need to be a massive hit to have an enormous cultural impact. Big Star’s lovely pop song earned raves from Rolling Stone magazine, Allmusic, and Michael Chabon.
Big Star’s lead vocalist, Alex Chilton, sings about his devotion to his September-born partner. The lyrics contain some of Chilton’s signature snark without sacrificing sincerity.
Rolling Stone named “September Gurls” the 180th best song of all time. The Bangles, Superdrag, and the Searchers all recorded covers of the ballad.
6.” Six Years Come September” by American Aquarium
Song Year: 2020
American Aquarium dissects the complexities of sober life in “Six Years Come September”. The tragic song tells the story of a man who loses everything because of alcohol use.
The narrator sings to an ex-partner who left with their shared child. The choruses slowly reveal that six years prior, the singer hit a man while driving drunk. While the tragedy inspired his sobriety, it also ended his relationship.
“Six Years Come September” is raw and not at all uplifting. The song appears on American Aquarium’s album Lamentations.
7. “Pale September” by Fiona Apple
Song Year: 1996
18-year-old Fiona Apple took the music world by storm with her debut album, Tidal. Apple turned a direct love song into a poetic revelation with “Pale September”.
“Pale September” has a jazz-infused tune. The lyrics filter a tender love affair through weather and seasons. The singer explains the ways her partner lowered her defenses and brought her happiness during a dark time in her life.
8. “September Morn” by Neil Diamond
Song Year: 1979
Neil Diamond knows his way around a torch song. “September Morn” proves the singer-songwriter is one of the best mature songwriters.
“September Morn” is very much a song for adults, by an adult. The lyrics tell the story of lovers rediscovering each other after years of separation. The narrator reminds his partner of one particular night the couple shared. The pair find themselves on the cusp of reunion, as grown-ups this time.
Diamond featured “September Morn” on his album of the same name.
9. “September Sun” by Type O Negative
Song Year: 2008
Type O Negative released their final single, “September Sun,” on January 14, 2008. The goth-metal epic covers Peter Steele’s pet subjects, including depression, tragic love, and inner darkness.
Type O Negative cut the nearly 10-minute album version of “September Sun” to a more radio-friendly four-and-a-half minutes. The mid-tempo dirge appears on the band’s 2007 album, Dead Again.
10. “Old September Blues” by My Morning Jacket
Song Year: 2004
My Morning Jacket curbed some of their more indulgent impulses on “Old September Blues.” The band errs towards long songs, but “Old September Blues” clocks in at just under six minutes.
Despite the name, “Old September Blues” is a fairly hopeful song. The lyrics discuss the good feeling that comes from being needed and loved.
Jim James and the boys featured the song on Chapter 1: The Sandworm Cometh: Early Recordings.
11. “September Song” by Willie Nelson
Song Year: 1978
Willie Nelson didn’t write “September Song,” but he did record the most celebrated version of it. Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson composed the tune in 1938 for the musical Knickerbocker Holiday.
No one remembers that musical, but many still love Nelson’s cover of the love song. The singer of “September Song” laments how quickly time passes. He values the time he spends with his partner, even though they’re fleeting.
12. “See You in September” by the Happenings
Song Year: 1966
Sid Wayne and Sherman Edwards wrote “See You in September,” but the Happenings made it a hit. The New Jersey band put a Motown twist on the song, launching it to national success.
Brazil loved “See You in September.” The single reached number one on Rio de Janeiro’s chart.
The narrator of “See You in September” asks his partner to remain faithful during summer vacation. The lover is going away until September, and the singer is concerned her interest will fade.
13. “One September Day” by Nina Simone
Song Year: 1965
The incomparable Nina Simone imbued every song she sang with pathos and ache. The writer sings about a lost love in “One September Day.”
The singer reflects on the way time impacts her memory. She establishes that while her recollections may fade, the September love remains vivid in her memory. The relationship is over, but still present in her memory.
14. “September When it Comes” by Johnny and Rosanna Cash
Song Year: 2003
“September When it Comes” packs a double punch. The song and its lyrical content are bittersweet, but so is its history. “September When it Comes” is the last song Rosanna Cash recorded with her father Johnny.
The song charts the course of a life, starting at birth and ending at death. The father-daughter duo trade verses and sing the chorus together.
“September When it Comes” spent 17 weeks on the Billboard charts.
15. “It May as Well Rain Until September” by Carol King
Song Year: 1963
Carol King initially wrote “It May as Well Rain Until September” for Bobby Vee. However, the songwriter’s demo recording earned her acclaim and success.
King’s performance of “It May as Well Rain Until September” tanked on American Bandstand, but listeners disagreed. The mid-tempo torch song covered familiar pop-territory. The singer tells her ex that the world is sad and dark now that their relationship is over.
“It May as Well Rain Until September” charted in the United States and the United Kingdom. It inspired several covers and a Swedish language interpretation.
16. “September Song” by Frank Sinatra
Song Year: 1962
Frank Sinatra put the ol’ blue eyes charm on “September Song,” a modification of the Maxwell Anderson and Kurt Weill song.
Sinatra’s interpretation maintains the melancholy tone underpinning the original. However, the singer cuts the fat, reducing the song to two verses.
Sinatra featured the song on two albums: Point of No Return and September of My Years. The singer’s dulcet tones perfectly draw out the melancholy inherent to the themes of aging and loss in the lyrics.
17. “Come September” by Natalie Imbruglia
Song Year: 2001
Believe it or not, Natalie Imbruglia released songs after her massive 1997 hit, “Torn.” “Come September” is a female-empowerment anthem, celebrating how loss and pain make us stronger.
The song employs a third-person narrative voice to tell the story of a woman who loses her relationship. “Come September” assures listeners that although the heroine suffers currently, she’ll pick herself up and be okay by autumn.
18. “September” by Daughtry
Song Year: 2010
Chris Daughtry has faired pretty well, despite not winning American Idol. The fifth-season finalist was a well-established property when he released “September” with his band, Daughtry.
The introspective ballad explored the singer’s fond memories of childhood summers. “September” dives into the swift passage of time and the melancholy of being unable to remain static in life.
The mid-tempo song performed moderately well. “September” charted in Canada and the United States.
19. “September When I First Met You” by Barry White
Song Year: 1978
Barry White is the undisputed king of smooth and steamy love songs. “September When I First Met You” finds the baritone at his most romantic.
White’s wife inspired “September When I First Met You.” The song explains how the singer met his partner in September, and the love hasn’t faded. The couple vows to work on their relationship and value each other.
20. “Blue September” by Al Stewart
Song Year: 1990
Al Stewart recorded some of the most commercially successful jazz of the 20th century. The iconic singer paired up with the psychedelic-country band Windows for “Blue September.”
The five-minute song is lyrically obscure. The words hint at the passage of time while embracing a dreamy poetry. A delicate sadness infuses the tune.
21. “September Love” by Kool and the Gang
Song Year: 1983
Kool and the Gang released a slew of danceable hits throughout the mid-1970s and early 1980s. While “September Love” never earned the acclaim or airplay of “Celebration,” the ballad is lyrically poignant.
“September Love” is about growing out of young love. The singer still cares for his former partner, but their relationship is over. “September Love” accepts this reality while mourning it.
22. “September in the Rain” by Dinah Washington
Song Year: 1961
“September in the Rain” is an American standard, written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin in 1937.
Dinah Washington recorded a particularly lovely R&B cover in 1961. The singer’s vocals draw out the poignancy in the heartbroken lyrics. “September in the Rain” laments a lost love and the singer’s inability to move on from the failed relationship.
23. “September Grass” by James Taylor
Song Year: 2001
James Taylor is one of America’s most celebrated poets. Though the singer-songwriter attained fame in 1970, he proved he still had it in 2001 with “September Grass.”
“September Grass” is an ode to memory and youth. Taylor sings about his past with the wisdom of age and experience. While many September songs face the past with melancholy, “September Grass” looks back fondly.
24. “The September of my Years” by Frank Sinatra
Song Year: 1965
Frank Sinatra seemed to have an affinity for songs about September. “The September of my Years”-the singer’s second appearance on this list-finds the singer reflective and thoughtful.
Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn composed the Grammy nominee. The narrator of “The September of my Years” finds that having rushed through life, he’s now moved to slow down. As he ages, he wishes he’d taken more time and formed more meaningful relationships.
25. “September Skyline” by Single File
Song Year: 2007
Single File, the short-lived Colorado band, included “September Skyline” on their 2007 album, No More Sad Face.
The mellow emo song has a carpe diem attitude. The lyrics acknowledge change and suggest it should get taken as a catalyst. The narrator encourages their partner to take a chance and commit to the singer.
26. “Maybe September” by Tony Bennett
Song Year: 1966
An American treasure, Tony Bennett, recorded “Maybe September” for his album The Movie Song Album.
Written by Percy Faith, Ray Evans, and Jay Livingston, “Maybe September” is an optimistic song. The lyrics state that despite some setbacks, the narrator still has hope for his life to improve. The upbeat tune inspired several notable covers.
27. “September” by The Shins
Song Year: 2012
Albuquerque’s indie-rock darlings, The Shins, write sunny, relaxed songs. “September” is no exception.
“September” is a hopeful but realistic love song. The beautifully rendered lyrics talk about a healthy relationship between two practical adults. The singer doesn’t have unrealistic expectations; he knows the pair will struggle but believes they can handle their struggles.
Top Songs About September, Final Thoughts
Musicians turn September's sadness into art. These top songs about September use the ninth month as inspiration. These songs use autumn’s onset as a metaphor for fading love and the fleeting nature of time.