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:
Excited for what is to come. MJ set the bar. Not only for music but for being an entertainer and how u treat the fans. Wish he was here...— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) August 16, 2013
All of it is not always easy but it is a blessing. We can change the world. I'm up for the challenge. Big things ahead! #greatness. love you— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) August 16, 2013
He set the bar pic.twitter.com/gCMGHWLK4t— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) August 17, 2013
MJ. The greatest of all time. #fact— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) August 17, 2013
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.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Why China thinks it could defeat the U.S. in battle
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How Ferguson made conservatives lose faith in the police
- What you need to know before you support the police in Ferguson
- Girls on Film: 5 things that need to happen before Hollywood will ever truly change
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- What the 'death of the library' means for the future of books
- Why I give money to homeless people
Subscribe to the Week