Okay but seriously listen to this. Just press play, even if you don’t know what it is. And if you do know what it is, quiet for a moment and listen to it again.
This is one of the many musical scores for Avatar: The Last Airbender and the upcoming Avatar: Legend of Korra. Yes, this is that cartoon about Asian people fighting with elemental martial arts. But just listen. There really aren’t that many animated programs out there nowadays — or even many live-action shows or productions — that give this much attention and produce this much talent through the music alone.
It starts off kind of creepy and ominous. We hear horns, a soft sort of mystical tone that almost sounds like a voice floating through the back of a room. And a drum starts thumping. This is just… not what you normally think to find most cartoons, yet this is so perfectly fitting to the show’s magical, supernatural, and spiritual elements that it’s hard to imagine anything else.
And then it changes halfway through. No more of that soft sugar-coated stuff: this is hardcore shit we’re dealing with. Fast-beat drums and the horns pick up the pace. This is an action show, there is fighting, there is danger. People will get hurt and the bad guys are closing in and — holy shit, the rhythm’s changed again, and this time the good guys are fighting back.
It’s just… been a very long time since a score has been able to affect me this much.