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The Party's Over: Songs For Summer's End

All summer long, NPR Music has been compiling five-song playlists for every party-related occasion, from weddings and heavy-metal keggers to nights spent sitting at home alone while eating room-temperature Spaghetti-Os and sobbing. Each collection of songs provides a perfect soundtrack to a summertime party that runs no longer than 20 minutes or so; fortunately, each also contains a comments section in which readers offer more suggestions.

That said, the summer of 2009 is pretty much kaput, in just about every sense except the part where the calendar says it ends in three weeks. In much of the country, school is back in session. Fans of sports-related collisions are shifting their focus from watching Wipeout to watching football. Soon, the freedom of summer will be extinguished entirely, replaced by schoolhouse drudgery, workplace obligation and/or homebound leaf-raking. The party, in other words, is over.

Which means, of course, that it's time for one last bittersweet blast: five songs to mark the death of a season — and the birth of a time in which comfort revolves around sweaters, slippers, cocoa and enough food to pad the midsection through those cold winter months. Here's a mildly reflective playlist to honor the occasion, arranged in order of wistfulness.

For more entries in this summer's weekly It's Time to Party: Summer Songs series, click here.

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Stephen Thompson
Stephen Thompson is a host, writer and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist and guest host on All Songs Considered. Thompson also co-hosts the daily NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created with NPR's Linda Holmes in 2010. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)