New Music Friday: Avatar: The Way of Water

We only waited thirteen whole years for the much-anticipated Avatar: The Way of Water to finally punch us in the face with its striking visuals and intense continuation of the storyline. Thirteen years to finally find out what is going on with the Omitikaya clan after the invasion of the so-called “sky people” from the previous Avatar. Well, folks, it is finally here, and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait. Not only do we get an expansion on the life of the main character Jake Sully but, the movie does a marvelous deep dive into the life of his kids. Specifically, let’s talk about Jake’s middle child in the film, Lo’ak. Some of you might understand what it is like to be the middle child in a family. Sometimes you feel like an outcast, as the eldest and youngest get the most attention. Through this film, we see Lo’ak go through a course progression from taking the blame for everything, to moving away from home, to finally symbolically changing roles with his oldest brother in the climax of the film. What kind of music do you think Lo’ak would listen to in order to get him through these events? Let’s find out with this week’s New Music Friday!

1. “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses

To kick this thing off, what would be a better way to do it than express where Lo’ak is from? Of course, that is the jungle! His early childhood would be filled with hopping from tree branch to tree branch or flying his mountain banshee high in the sky over his home of Pandora. Nevertheless, this song would keep Lo’ak in check with his origins while living it up in the Jungle.

2. “You Don’t Own Me” by Grace

It is safe to say that Lo’ak has been more of the rebellious type ever since he was a young child. Now, just think of his mindset when the sky people came back to Pandora AGAIN to try and colonize it and more truthfully, kill Lo’ak’s father! Lo’ak isn’t going to accept that! On the same hand, you can catch him screaming at the top of his lungs “You don’t own me” as he tries to fight back in any way he can, even if his dad despises him for doing things he shouldn’t.

3. “Not Afraid” by Eminem

Lo’ak is the kind of kid who does the opposite of what people tell him, even if it gets him killed. When he receives a special order from his dad to keep lookout and not join the other members of the tribe who are ransacking the sky people’s train for supplies, I bet you can guess what Lo’ak does. Yup, the kid is not afraid as he dives into the action, almost dying. There is no doubt Eminem was blasting in his ears because he has no fear during this encounter.

4. “Better Luck Next Time” by Maya Yenn

It seems like getting yelled at by your dad is a commonality for a middle child. Well, Lo’ak’s life as a child makes it seem that way. After doing exactly what his dad told him not to do and almost dying by joining others ransacking the train, his dad most certainly delivered him a classic “dad speech” with some anger behind it. With Lo’ak’s attitude, he is most certainly thinking “well, better luck next time” when it comes to pleasing his father.

5. “Help” by The Beatles

Once again, Lo’ak finds himself in a predicament by doing something his father always tells him not to do. Yup, he and his siblings have been captured by the sky people, and there is no way out of this one. Nothing like a little motivation from the Beatles themselves as Lo’ak clearly needs some help here.

6. “Softie with Anger Issues” by Aryy

Deep down, we all know that Lo’ak is a softie at heart filled with anger on the outside. Sounds like your typical middle child story. When his adopted brother, Spyder, gets not only captured but taken away by the sky people, you physically see Lo’ak wanting to do something about it and get him back. Nevertheless, his parents continue him on as it is too dangerous. Let’s just say this is a song that might tickle the heartstrings for Lo’ak during this situation.

7. “It’s Time to Go” by Taylor Swift

And the real story begins. Jake Sully and his family are forced to leave their home in Pandora to learn the way of water in the Metkayina tribe. Nobody ever wants to leave everything they know in their home. It’s tough as a parent, but even tougher as a child. Even though Lo’ak might not want to leave, deep in his mind he realizes that “It’s Time to Go” for their family’s safety.

8. “Girl of my Dreams” by Juice Wrld

A connection formed immediately. When Lo’ak arrives at the Metkayina tribe, the daughter of the leader, Tsireya, comes sauntering out of the water with water dripping off her body. You can tell by the googling eyes of Lo’ak that this is the girl of his dreams. Soon to come, Lo’ak might be singing along to this song as she is the girl of his dreams, but he is most certainly not asleep. 

9. “Brand New Sun” by Jason Lytle

“And we’ll run to a brand-new sun”. New beginnings and learning new ways. This song might be the mantra of Lo’ak when he is learning the brand-new way of the water. It is foreign to him, but this new way of life is one that will soon become keen.

10. “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

All hell breaks loose when the children of the chief are making fun of another main character, whom Lo’ak looks at as a sister, named Kiri. Quick to combat this, Lo’ak turns to his mouth, and then his fists to give them some payback that they deserved. There was no holding back, and there was fury in his actions as Lo’ak had the Eye of the Tiger.

11. “Hurt” by Johny Cash

One of the toughest situations we see Lo’ak in is when the chief’s kids leave him stranded in a deadly part of the sea. Another form of payback. Lonely, sad, and fighting for his life against a deadly sea creature, Lo’ak might be thinking this is his last moment. A song like this could either ease the pain or contribute to the dark sadness he is going through.

12. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman

My o my how the tables have turned. From nearly dying, to forming a deep connection with a new friend. Pretty unique when that new friend is a Tulkun, which is a creature native to their sea. With Lo’ak being looked at as the outcast of the family, and this Tulkun being an outcast from its tribe, this song should be the soundtrack for the perfect friendship.

13. “Sorry Blame it on Me” by Akon

Can you believe that after all Lo’ak went through, after getting duped by the chief’s kids, he takes the blame for it all? Maybe this was all to get the chief’s son’s respect because it worked. Taking the blame is never easy but for this version of Lo’ak, it seems he’s learned a few things stating “sorry, blame it on me”.

14. “4 Minutes” by Madonna

Time was winding down, and Lo’ak and his siblings had to act fast to save the Tulkun who was shot with a tracker by the sky people. As the enemy boat was quickly approaching, it felt as if Lo’ak and everyone else were not going to achieve this. In this timely moment, a timely song might come in handy.

15. “Baby I’m Back” by Baby Bash

Lo’ak never seemed to be the worried type, even when he was in sticky situations. One of the stickiest situations of all, getting captured, again! When Lo’ak gets captured a second time by Miles Quaritch, he is not fazed. How about a nice comedic touch to the situation with Lo’ak screaming “baby I’m back!!!”.

16. “Stuck” by Housewife

Stuck in a situation that seems impossible to get out of? That’s what it seemed like when the entire enemy ship was surrounded by fire, and Lo’ak was trying to get out. Whether he was literally stuck in this situation, or mentally stuck from all the obstacles in front of him, this song is one he will hear to understand the situation in front of him.

17. “No Way Out” by Rie Sinclair

Another instance of the end for Lo’ak and his father quickly changed to a heroic standpoint. From being stuck underwater, to Lo’ak convincing his father that he can survive underwater and make it out of the boat. Just like the progression of the song, things always change as time goes on.

18. “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten

When the outcast Tulkun jumps out of the water and onto the enemy ship, this moment of heroic glory gives the Metkayina tribe, and everyone on their side the fight, and glory to push forward and beat the sky people. As Lo’ak is captured on the ship still, he realizes that although the Tulkin and he were both treated like outcasts, it is time for them to fight and prove themselves.

19. “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy”

One of the saddest moments for Lo’ak comes when he witnesses his own brother die in front of him. The turning point that now makes Lo’ak the eldest brother. From knowing he will never see him again, the bond that they had will be instilled in their memories.

20. “Nothing is Lost” by The Weeknd

In the end, let’s just imagine Lo’ak had an air pod in his ear during all these moments as these are the songs that would get him through it all. Nothing has been lost, and nothing will be forgotten. With Lo’ak losing his brother and helping win the initial battle, he knows that there is much to come. The torch is now in his hands to help fight back against the sky people and claim their territory back.