Sarah Recommends: “DLZ” by TV on the Radio

“This is beginning to feel
like the long winded blues of the never
This is beginning to feel
like it’s curling up slowly and finding a
throat to choke…”

Most people may know this song because of an episode in Season Two of Breaking Bad, specifically the one where, towards the end, Walter White realizes that some of his fellow home-improvement customers are shopping for meth-making supplies, which goads his barely-suppressed fury. “Stay. Out. Of. My. Territory.” His challengers are shocked and not a little afraid, and the song floods the scene. I’m rewatching the series right now, and if anyone wants a textbook example of what toxic masculinity looks like in 21st century America, then look to this show.

It’s been hard not to think of how poisonous that brand of masculinity is, given these past few weeks. It smothers everyone. It gives people passes who don’t deserve them, and provides a justification for the worst behavior. I hate how catchy the song is, but I love it, too, and TV on the Radio seems to understand that if you’re going to set a dystopia to music, you’d better make it infectious and big and unforgettable. It claims its own territory, an interior landscape that can’t be lived in, with little chance of escape. But even this demands that you hum along.

(Song recommendation by Sarah Nichols)


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