Photo: Getty
  /  08.25.2022

A Microsoft engineer has revealed that Janet Jackson’s music video for “Rhythm Nation” has more power than we think.

The smash hit had an impact on the culture, bringing in both Grammy and VMA wins, however, it appears as though the music video is so revolutionary that it has the power to “crash certain laptops.” “A major computer manufacturer discovered that playing the music video for Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation’ could crash certain models of laptops,” said Microsoft engineer Raymond Chen in a blog post.

Not only did Jackson’s hit 1989 single have a crazy effect on the Windows XP product that Chen detailed in his report, but it also had the ability to crash competitor laptop brands. He also noted that the video is so powerful that it caused nearby laptops that weren’t even playing the clip to go bizerk. “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,” explained Chen. Furthermore, he explained how the issue was solved at the time. “The manufacturer worked around the problem by adding a custom filter in the audio pipeline that detected and removed the offending frequencies during audio playback,” he continued. “And I’m sure they put a digital version of a ‘Do not remove’ sticker on that audio filter.”

Following the reports, staffers at an Australian radio show tested out the theory by holding up three laptops to a speaker as it played “Rhythm Nation.” Two of the three computers can be seen crashing in a video of the experiment. Jackson even responded to the information by resharing the clip and screenshots of articles surrounding the news.


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At the time of its release, “Rhythm Nation” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is a classic that continues to stand the test of time. The accompanying music video won a Grammy for Best Music Video, Long Form, as well as the VMA for Best Choreography in a Video. It also won a Soul Train Music Award for Music Video of the Year.


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