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‘What a Weird Flex: Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation’ Can Reportedly Crash Old Hard Drives, Social Media Reacts 

Janet Jackson’s signature record “Rhythm Nation” is being blamed for destroying vulnerable computer hard drives. 

The analysis was revealed by Microsoft, which found that playing the music video that has over 28 million views on YouTube didn’t just crash the laptop it was on but caused laptops nearby to fail as well. 

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – MAY 07: Janet Jackson performs on Kentucky Derby night at Lynn Family Stadium on May 07, 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images)

The company’s principal software engineer, Raymond Chen, shared a blog post on Wednesday, Aug. 17, announcing that a colleague had recently shared the enigma with him from the days of providing product support for Windows XP.

“A major computer manufacturer discovered that playing the music video for Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation’ would crash certain models of laptops,” Chen explained.  

According to the report, the 1989 hit single from the singer’s fourth studio album, “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814,” has the same sound frequency as the hard drives of some older laptop models, causing them as well as others in close range to crash when the song is played from the device. 

“It turns out that the song contained one of the natural resonant frequencies for the model of 5400 rpm laptop hard drives that they and other manufacturers used,” the engineer continued.

However, computer owners can rest easy. While few modern computers run on hard disk drives, Chen revealed that manufacturers since have added a “custom filter in the audio pipeline that detected and removed the offending frequencies during audio playback.”

He added. “And I’m sure they put a digital version of a ‘Do not remove’ sticker on that audio filter. (Though I’m worried that in the many years since the workaround was added, nobody remembers why it’s there).”

Still, the song was enough of a cybersecurity risk to be included in the Mitre Corporation’s list of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures after Microsoft reported the issue.  

Fans were fascinated by the discovery. Many joked that they would use the new information to skip out work duties and never-ending zoom meetings, including one Instagram user who wrote, “So play this song Monday morning so I can log off early you say? Got it.” Another person quipped, “Let me play this at work on Monday. Everyone is going home except IT.”

A third person wrote, “Imagine having a song so legendary it literally crashes computers. What a weird flex.” “Somebody at Sallie Mae play this song,” added another. 

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