In one of the latest episodes of The Walking Dead, a song called Easy Street by The Collapsible Hearts Club, is used to torture Daryl, who is being held prisoner. Playing the song loudly on repeat keeps Daryl from getting any sleep.
During the War of Terror, the CIA used similar tactics as a form of torture. Imagine being locked up or chained up, isolated in a room of blackness, with music blasting from outside of the cell.
The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC
CIA’s Music Torture Methods
Music torture has been used as common practice with the CIA for over 15 years now at Black Sites as part of their “enhanced interrogation program.” The method was designed to create fear and disorient the victim in order to create shock.
Sargent Mark Hadsell, who is a U.S. Psychological Operations member, described the tactic as follows: “If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down and your will is broken. That’s when we come in and talk to them.”
Within ‘The Cell,” Dwight plays Easy Street on repeat to keep The Walking Dead‘s Daryl awake and then brings him out into the light of day so he can see his three options, which essentially include giving up or dying, in one way or another.
Torture within the CIA remains debatable, but music torture seems to be palatable to the general public, so perhaps it’s seen the same way as the first step of Negan’s torture tactics.
The Real Slim Shady | Photo Credit Aftermath Productions
Actual Songs Used by the CIA as Torture
While the song, Easy Street by The Collapsible Hearts Club is upbeat, and therefore ironic within the scene. Some of the actual CIA torture songs are better known but can be torture when played over and over.
Some of these repeated songs from the CIA include the following:
- The Real Slim Shady by Eminem
“I heard this nonstop over and over,” Binyam Mohamed told Clive Stafford Smith, his lawyer and the founder and director of Reprieve. “The CIA worked on people, including me, day and night for the months before I left. Plenty lost their minds.” Mohamed admitted that others were “screaming and smashing their heads against walls.”
- Take Your Best Shot by Dope
“I can bear being beaten up, it’s not a problem,” recalls British citizen Ruhal Ahmed. “Once you accept that you’re going to go into the interrogation room and be beaten up, it’s fine. You can prepare yourself mentally, but when you’re being psychologically tortured, you can’t.”
- Dirty by Christina Aguilera
Mohammed al Qahtani, who was reported as a 9/11 hijacker admitted that the “musical theme” was worse than torture. Aguilera’s sexually-charged song with a pop theme is especially difficult for a Muslim man to hear. In addition, they would also use female military personal topless to confuse the men.
- I Love You from the Barney Theme
Reported as the most overused torture song within the CIA’s repertoire, the Barney Theme by Bob Singleton is especially haunting. Singleton remarked, “It seemed so ludicrous that something totally innocuous for children could threaten the mental state of an adult. I would rate the annoyance factor to be about equal with hearing my neighbor’s leaf blower. It can set my teeth on edge, but it won’t break me down and make me confess to crimes against humanity.”
As viewers, at least Easy Street is catchy. Thankfully, Daryl made it a little bit longer so we can see what happens next.