"The thing is, if you just do stuff, and nothing happens, what's it all mean?"

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Name of The Rose is A Musical Underture: Caballo Sin Nombre

“Get back on the horse and do what you do best.”
    – Saul Goodman

Ross: And Duncan's horses—a thing most strange and certain— 
Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race, 
Turn'd wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out, 
Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make 
War with mankind.
Old Man: 'Tis said they eat each other.
     -William Shakespeare, Macbeth, II.iv

Song Used

"Horse With No Name," by America, 1972.

Complex's feature on "13 Great Songs from Breaking Bad'" mentions "Horse with No Name," but doesn't really elucidate much content. Here goes anyway:

"This band had the audacity to call themselves America, but we'll hand it to them because "A Horse With No Name" is as Americana as deep fried chili cheese nachos and a 44 ounce Coke. From the band's eponymous debut record, "A Horse With No Name" is tale, a desert odyssey of sorts. Folksy acoustic guitar strumming and drum circle percussion provide the instrumentation. But, the most notable aspect of the tune is the "la, la, la la la la, la la la, la, la" refrains throughout. Even four decades after it was composed, the song is instantly recognizable with drunk-at-the-bar-sing-along capabilities."

Song's Meaning within Context of Episode

Episode 3x02 has one of the several Spanish language titles that crop up throughout the series.  

Song's Greater Meaning within and throughout Series

Not speaking to authorial intent, but this particular song is very appropriate for the series and the nature of proving "The Meaning of Breaking Bad is the Meaning of Life" (I'm getting to it...). Divergent readings and elusive meaning shroud America's song, as is the case with much of Breaking Bad's aesthetic.

ShinyAeon writes, "However...there's another metaphorical horse that fits the lyrics of this song even better than the creaky old drug interpretation: the shaman's horse, which is another name for the sound of the drumbeat that carries the shaman into a trance state, into the otherworld on a visionary experience. Such a horse has no name because it isn't flesh and blood, it's a spirit horse made of sound.

To me the song is about a kind of vision quest in the desert...or else a mundane trip that (due to a little too much sunlight or too little water) became a visionary experience to the traveler, and caused a spiritual awakening."


America's song fits into the broad Western Genre iconography

Another song used in this episode is "Magic Arrow," by Timber Timbre. This plays during the scene where Mike bugs the White household, as Walt simultaneously breaks back into the home he'd been in exile from (by eking through the crawl space, a location that gained symbolic resonance in 2x10 "Over," and will later before a transformation nexus at the end of 4x11 "Crawl Space")

"And you saw it from that vantage point
Perimeter scratched on the nation's native hide
And we saw those christian clippers glide
Over white caps and white sails high
Over white knuckles
And you were fine till you saw the pale horse ride
Open up it's gait across the ocean floor
You were fine till you saw the white rider take
And take some more"

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come and see!" I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hell was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine, plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
— Revelation 6:7-8

I doubt this was planned, but there's more connections that can be made (more like "forced"), According to Wiki, "The color of Death's horse is written as khlōros (χλωρός) in the original Koine Greek,[15] which can mean either green/greenish-yellow or pale/pallid.[16] The color is often translated as "pale", though "ashen", "pale green", and "yellowish green"[13] are other possible interpretations (the Greek word is the root of "chlorophyll" and "chlorine"). Based on uses of the word in ancient Greek medical literature, several scholars suggest that the color reflects the sickly pallor of a corpse.[3][17] In some modern artistic depictions, the horse is distinctly green[18]"

Bringing all these fragments and hypothetical assumptions back into it, what does the song say .

When Saul tells him 

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