Torture tracks: Songs that have been weaponized
One man's karaoke song is another prisoner's torment
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Did you know that what’s a catchy pop hit or rocking head-banger could actually shatter someone’s sanity? When we think about the diverse uses of music, most people have no clue that some of their favorite songs and artists have been used as psychological warfare.
Music as torture began in part as a more “palatable” form of torture. But after hearing about the experiences of those who've been subjected to these songs, largely during George W. Bush’s presidency, it’s clear that there’s little worse than having a beloved song break you.
The CIA commonly used music torture as part of its "enhanced interrogation program" in the early 2000s. The idea was to disorient prisoners, deprive them of sleep, slow and mute their own thoughts, and ultimately break their will so that they would offer information more easily. The method was often combined with stressful physical conditions, cold temperatures, manipulations of light, and prolonged amounts of time.
While many countries have now banned the use of music as torture, and artists have petitioned to remove their songs from playlists of pain, check out this gallery based on a list from Mic to see which tracks have been used as attacks.