Pixie song "Where is my Mind" let Google's Pixel alarms fail …

Stop - Pixabay[German]Sounds bizarre, is bizarre and unfortunately true. When users have a certain song played, the Alam function of the Google Pixel Android smartphones fails. The background is that the assistant then responds to the lyrics of the song "Where is my Mind" by the band Pixies. This contains a well-understood word STOP at the very beginning. Meanwhile, the band means "sorry" – and I mean, who does that?


There is a song "Where is my Mind", recorded by the US rock band Pixies. It is the most successful track of the band's first album, created in 1988. The track begins with the words "Oooh, stop", as you can easily check on YouTube. That's one part of the story. The other side is the "Assistant Alarms" feature introduced by Google in January 2022, which can be used to disable alarms from the alarm clock via spoken words such as stop or snooze. The feature was introduced in the Nest speakers, but also in the Google Pixel 6 – to the delight of various users.

The alarm clock occasionally failed

One user then noticed a crude side effect on his Pixel smartphone. For days, the user was not woken up by the alarm clock of his smartphone, without any explanation. Then he woke up 5 minutes earlier one day and decided to get to the bottom of the reason for the alarm clock's failure, as he writes on reddit.com.

I finally figured out why my alarm kept turning off…

For the past few months, I could not figure out why on random days, with seemingly no reason, sometimes my alarm would either not go off, or turn itself off very quickly. Maybe once every other week or so, I would wake up 30 minutes later on my backup alarm, with no indication as to why the first shut itself off.

Well this morning, I woke up about 5 minutes before my alarm went off, and I have cracked the code.

The alarm is set to play a Spotify playlist, and one of the songs on that playlist is "Where is My Mind" by the Pixies. If you know the first line of that song, you may know where I'm going with this…

The first line in the song is "Ooohhh STOP", with the word "stop" said very clearly. My Pixel has been hearing that "stop" and turning the alarm off. Since it's a playlist on shuffle, it only comes up every once in a while, so it's not happening every morning.

Glad that feature works…

The root cause is crude – he had entered a Spotify playlist in the alarm clock app to play when he woke up. This playlist contained the Pixie song "Where is my Mind", and the song starts with what I would interpret as "uuuuhhh stop" – the user hears "Ooohhh STOP". But the word stop is pronounced very clearly.

Song turns off the alarm

And there we are at the root cause of the problem. The Assistant in the Google Pixel naturally hears this song via the microphone along with the word stop spoken right at the beginning. As soon as the alarm plays this piece, the Assistant recognizes the "stop" keyword and turns off the alarm. The following tweet from the Pixies, which refers to this Android Police article, even came to my attention the other day.

Google Pixel alarm fails with Pixies song "Where is my mind"


Android Police not only picked up on the topic, but immediately checked other songs for their effect. The editors write that the following tracks also contain the same command.

  • U Can't Touch This – M.C. Hammer
  • Stop Stop Stop – The Hollies
  • Stop! In the Name of Love – The Supremes
  • Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
  • Don't Stop Me Now – Queen
  • Stop – Jane's Addiction

However, the song "Where is my mind" is the only song that already contains the word stop at the beginning, before the music starts, and that can be heard clearly. And the song then reliably turns off the alarm, as Android Police demonstrates in this YouTube video. Malicious tongues claim that the song is currently enjoying high popularity on Spotify. The band has apologized in the above tweet.

Another oddity: The assistant recognizes when Stop is accompanied by instrument sounds and vocals in a piece of music. The command is then ignored. Users who used the assistant while listening to music reported that it fails when they yell the command "stop" and music is playing in the background. Is more or less like AI, there is probably still room for improvement. (via)

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One Response to Pixie song "Where is my Mind" let Google's Pixel alarms fail …

  1. John Wuethrich says:

    I imagine this would be easier to filter sans streaming/drm and power consumption limits.

    ideally you would want any always listening device to be able to subtract sounds it's making out it's speakers from sounds it's hearing

    but I'd imagine power consumption goes up when you do that and id imagine most streaming apps are written to try to avoid being snooped on in such a way. if you could extract a perfect bit stream of the song with software ripping it to a saved file would be trivial

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