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This bizarre remix of ‘Smooth Criminal’ is becoming a bad meme

If you're tired of intelligible lyrics and harmonious melodies, check out these bops instead.


Kristina Nguyen

Internet Culture

Posted on Jun 7, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 2:03 pm CDT

Have you ever wanted to have a stroke while listening to “Smooth Criminal?”

Thanks to the latest meme sweeping the internet, you can. A trend in which people remix songs by taking out every other beat gained traction in the past week due to YouTube user EveryOtherBeat’s strangely-spliced rendition of “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson. The video, which remains the most popular take on the meme, boasts over 350,000 views and has been widely circulated on sites such as Reddit.

Despite the recent attention, however, the meme’s origins can actually be traced back to a blog post from 2007. The now-defunct blog for radio station WFMU-FM hosted a remix contest that asked participants to reduce songs to 60 seconds or less. With their cut-up chords and discordant melodies, it is theorized that these entries inspired the practice of “taking out every other beat.”

Eleven years later, the trend is still going strong. The most popular edits ranged from iconic tracks like “Africa” by Toto to famously funny songs such as “We Are Number One” from the children’s show LazyTown.

What’s next for this underground meme? Every third beat? Every fourth? Only time will tell.

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*First Published: Jun 7, 2018, 4:11 pm CDT