Second Language: A decade of pop music on TV

The third track on one of my favorite rock records of the last decade, Okkervil River’s The Stage Names, is called “A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene.” Without context, its lyric is a bit of a tough nut to crack. Will Sheff sings about events unfolding on a TV screen in the first verse, recaps a dream in the second, and seems to outline the narrator’s innermost wishes in the third. What’s not immediately apparent is that the first verse outlines scenes from two completely different TV shows – scenes that happened to be scored by Okkervil River songs. The first half of the verse refers to “It Ends With a Fall” (from Down the River of Golden Dreams) and its use on the reality series Breaking Bonaduce. (I don’t have that clip handy.) The second half, and probably the more illustrative of the two in any case,
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