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"Everything Changed When Punk Rock Attacked" The Four Elements of Music

Water, Earth, Fire, Air. These are the elements that make up the world we live in, at least according to ancient Greeks, and if you watched Avatar: The Last Airbender then you will need no introduction to how creatively and immaculately they used these elements. With the new live-action adaptation coming out, it made me think about how these elements would translate into music because, of course, I would think about that! Here are the four elements, as well as the music genre I would most associate with them!

Water is the element of change. It is extremely adaptable, one minute it can be calm and soothing, and the next it can be deadly. For a music genre, this would mean that it has much variety and versatility, and I believe electronic music fits this well. If you want it to be calming and relaxing like a day at the beach or lake look no further than electronic ambient music from artists like Apex Twin, with its natural flow and smoothness. Or if you want it to be rapid and fast like a river or waterfall, artists like 100 gecs have you covered. 

Earth is the element of substance. It is the foundation that keeps us stable, and it keeps us attached. Earth is strong and is capable of enduring hard and long times. For this reason, I believe roots and folk music fit the element of earth best. Folk music is easily the genre that’s been around the longest out of the ones on this list, and it still goes strong today. Folk and Roots music is often very simple and straightforward, as well as being able to easily relate to the struggles of common people. Acts like the Mountain Goats or even older acts like Woody Guthrie or Robert Johnson symbolize this well. 

                                                                                                                              Rage Against the Machine 

Fire is the element of power and drive. It can be fast, wild, and aggressive. In my opinion, no music genre fits this element better than punk music. Punk is defined by a fast and relentless pace, and if you’ve ever been to a hardcore show, you are well aware of how energetic and wild it can get. The punk movement also has an underlying desire to rebuild the world to be ultimately better than its current state, as well as historically having the drive to act upon it. Acts like Rage Against the Machine, Anti-Flag, or Against Me come to my mind when it comes to this energy!

Air is the element of freedom. Air freely moves through the space it is in, and is often a very calming and subtle presence, but it is everywhere. The music genre that I believe does the best of representing air is Dream Pop. Breathy vocals and melodies that make you feel almost as if you’re floating are characteristic of this genre. The genre is also defined by the heavy use of reverb, which makes music sound as if it has its own echo. Artists such as Mazzy Star or the Cocteau Twins

Of course, all of this is just my opinions and thoughts. I have asked people about this before, and their answers and reasons will be both different and very interesting! Different views and interpretations of music are part of the reason why things like this are so interesting and fun to talk about! Feel free to discuss, and enjoy Avatar: The Last Airbender!

100 Gecs

Images used in this article are courtesy of the respective bands' official websites. 

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