Music

Britney Spears' music used to drive away Somali pirates

Oct. 29, 2013 at 10:35 AM ET

Image: Britney Spears
Luis Martinez / AP file
"These guys can't stand western culture or music, making Britney's hits perfect," a merchant naval officer said.

She's sold close to 100 million albums worldwide, but it seems Britney Spears can't count Somali pirates among her many fans. In fact, her tunes are being used to turn the tide on high-seas crimes.

Merchant naval officer Rachel Owens recently spoke to Metro and revealed that a "blast of Britney" is all it takes to send the pirates packing.

"Her songs were chosen by the security team because they thought the pirates would hate them most," Owens said.

The "Toxic" singer can take heart though — it's nothing personal.

"These guys can't stand western culture or music, making Britney's hits perfect," Owens explained. "It’s so effective the ship’s security rarely needs to resort to firing guns."

There you have it: Britney Spears saves lives.

Well, she at least saves bullets. And as it turns out, Spears is in good company. "Oops!... I Did It Again" and "Baby One More Time" are far from the only songs used to drive criminal minds to the breaking point.

Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady" was played on loop for 20 days at a U.S. prison in Kabul, according to a detainee who told Human Rights Watch that "plenty lost their minds" during the broadcast.

Metallica's music was once on the terror playlist, used to "soften people up" before interrogation, according to a Navy SEAL who spoke to Esquire. But eventually, their metal hits were taken out of rotation. "Metallica got wind of this and they said, 'Hey, please don't use our music because we don't want to promote violence,'" the SEAL recalled.  

According to multiple reports, Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" was a big hit with the officials — though not the prisoners — at Guantanamo Bay. The track was said to serve as the morning wake-up call for years.

Even kids' songs have been used to as weapons. BBC News reported that that the theme to "Sesame Street" and the "Barney and Friends" classic "I Love You" have both been used by U.S. Psy Ops.

Of course, music isn't only used against pirates and prisoners. The New Zealand city of Christchurch once employed similar tune tactics when faced with lawless and loitering teens. A business association manager told The Associated Press that they decided to use Barry Manilow's easy-listening hits to "change the environment in a positive way."

But at least in that last case, the musical war went both ways. "We would just bring a stereo and play it louder," an area teens explained.

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