Week 366: “What Are We Made Of?” by Shigeto

Here are the raw ingredients needed to make you:

  • Oxygen: 65%
  • Carbon: 18%
  • Hydrogen: 10%
  • Nitrogen: 3%
  • Calcium: 1.5%
  • Phosphorus: 1.5%
  • Potassium: 0.35%
  • Sulfur: 0.25%
  • Sodium: 0.15%
  • Magnesium: 0.05%

I’ll admit that the above list isn’t usually what people mean when they ask the question posed in this song’s title. Generally, if you’re in a situation where you feel like you need to prove yourself, or show people what you’re “made of,” you’re looking for something more inspirational than a list of elements.

But I think there’s plenty of inspiration to be found on the periodic table. Here’s that list again, with inspirational properties of each element subbed in for the percentages.

  • Oxygen is beautiful. It’s responsible for the green colour found in the Northern Lights.
  • Carbon is strong. Highest melting point of all the elements. And you know how it responds to pressure.
  • Hydrogen is number one.
  • Nitrogen is nurturing. It’s found in most fertilizers.
  • Calcium is selfless. Important enough in its own right, it goes out of its way to help transport other nutrients to cells.
  • Phosphorus is explosive.
  • Potassium is down to earth, because it’s vital to plant cells.
  • Sulfur…okay, it smells terrible, it’s not pretty to look at, and it’s the reason onions make people cry. But nobody’s perfect. Sulfur has accepted that.
  • Sodium cares about the past. It’s a preservative.
  • Magnesium is green, appearing at the centre of every molecule of chlorophyll.

In short, you’re made of some pretty awesome stuff. We all are. But if your awesome stuff is feeling a bit overwhelmed by the world, this wonderful track by Detroit artist Shigeto might be enough to renew your faith in what you are.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The gentle, pulsing percussion that gives the song its heartbeat.

2. The piano, whose chords rise and fall chromatically, giving the song its breath.

3. Upon its release, Shigeto was, “…thinking about what I’m made of right now. I’m thinking about what we are all made of right now, what the world is made of right now. I’m thinking about who I want to be and how I want to play my small part in this world right now.”

Recommended listening activity:

This quiz. (Apparently, I’m helium.)

Buy it here.