A picture of an armless Greek statue in front of foliage.

Songs for the Greek Gods

By Leighton Gambles
Music Journalist

If you have read the Percy Jackson book series by Rick Riordan, then you are a little bit familiar with the Greek gods and goddesses. If you’re not, no sweat. Long story short, there are a bunch of major gods and goddesses. The three main domains of the earth are divided amongst the big-three gods, which are Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. Zeus rules over the sky, Poseidon over the seas and oceans and Hades over the underworld.

In Greek mythology, each of these gods have vastly different personalities and rule over their domains in their own ways. Due to these differences, someone might be tempted to compare the big-three to a particular song, or, maybe not… anyway, here are some songs that I believe fit each of the big-three.

Zeus

God of the sky and king of the gods. In mythology, he is said to be powerful, confident and unpredictable. Traits like these are best represented in “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance. When you think of the mighty sky god, Zeus, you may not think of “Welcome to the Black Parade.” However, when you give the song a listen, it becomes clear that all of these traits are represented.

The album The Black Parade is a rock opera that contains themes such as terminal illness, life reflection, love, happiness, sadness and death. A focal point of the album is “Welcome to the Black Parade” which includes many of these ideas. Being as complex as it is, the music also represents the principles of Zeus that were mentioned before.

The song is powerful because of its unwavering, driving rock feel, confident because of the message it presents and unpredictable. Overall, “Welcome to the Black Parade” is the perfect song to represent the mighty king of the Greek gods. The powerful message and music, the confidence that emanates from the song and the wonderful unpredictability are all perfectly representative of Zeus.

Poseidon

God of the sea, earthquake and horses. Poseidon is said to be cool yet moody. He is in control and yet shows anger at the slightest bit of disrespect. This is reflected in the changing of the waters in the vast oceans of the world.

The song “Around the Fur” by Deftones is reflective of these traits. “Around the Fur” shows the coolness and moodiness, the verses are relatively calm, especially compared to the chorus which is pure, raw, emotional energy that is fuelled by metal screams, amped-up guitars and heavy-hitting drums.

The song returns to a much calmer point during the bridge. At that point, you may feel like you are floating in air, but then the final push in the outro slams you back down into the water. The respect that both Poseidon and this track wants is shown in the lyrics “I just want your eyes fixated on me”.

When I listen to this song, the image of Poseidon crafting the perfect storm for sailors that angered him comes to mind. When comparing the traits of Poseidon and that of “Around the Fur”, the similarities are plain to see.

Hades

God of the dead and king of the underworld Hades is a force to be reckoned with. He is said to be stern, unyielding, responsible and sober-minded. Hades is the sort of god that will beat you and me at chess at the same time.

It is because of these traits that the piece of music that is most fitting for him is “Sarabande” by George Frideric Handel. The baroque composer, Handel, made many pieces that someone may want to drink a cup of tea to, but “Sarabande” was a bit different. It is powerful and all of the characteristics mentioned before.

It is stern and unyielding because it moves forward continuously, like the spinning of a wheel. The only time that the wheel slows is during the beautiful cello solo in the middle of the piece. It is responsible because the music is so transparent that every part with every instrument is clear and every instrumentalist is responsible for their part. And it is sober-minded because of how at no point during the piece does it stray from being as realistic as possible.

The same melody is just repeated throughout and the main things that change are only due to the textures of the music surrounding it. “Sarabande” by Handel has as much of a chilling presence as Hades himself, and that is why this music is perfect for him.

And now that you have had a musical taste of what some of the main Greek gods are all about, you’ve only scratched the surface of the interesting world of Greek mythology. So, if an interest has been found, it’s time to go and find more about this wonderful world of gods and goddesses.

Featured image via Creative Commons.

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