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LISTEN: Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson are together at last on 'Slave to the Rhythm'
Bieber's leaked remix of a little-known Michael Jackson song is a collaboration (sort of) between two cross-generational pop icons
 

The weekend saw the leak of "Slave to the Rhythm," an unlikely collaboration between two pop icons: Justin Bieber, the current king of the teen-pop world, and Michael Jackson, who died in June of 2009 — nearly a month before Bieber's first single, "One Time," hit the pop music charts.

So how did the Biebs and Michael Jackson end up "collaborating" on a song more than four years after Jackson's death? "Slave to the Rhythm" was released posthumously in 2010 amid a flurry of other, higher-profile projects and tributes, so it received relatively little fanfare. Here's the original version:

But sometime over the past few years, the Biebs saw the potential in the song — and in a potentially lucrative collaboration with Jackson. Though the track hasn't been officially released, Bieber was already working to get fans hyped for it. On Friday and Saturday, Bieber used Twitter to express his admiration for Jackson:

Given Bieber's obvious reverence for the pop star, it's disappointing that this remix doesn't have a little more impact. The original "Slave to the Rhythm" is by no means Michael Jackson's greatest song, but at least it sounds like a Jackson song. This remix scrubs the song of much of its personality in favor of a generic, club-ready techno beat. Dedicated Beliebers will undoubtedly eat it up, but it's unlikely to convert any Michael Jackson fans to Bieber's army.

 
Scott Meslow is the entertainment editor for TheWeek.com. He has written about film and television at publications including The AtlanticPOLITICO Magazine, and Vulture.

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