Invincible review by Michael Jackson

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  • Released: Oct 31, 2001
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 4
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 5.3 Decent
  • Users' score: 7.8 (46 votes)
Michael Jackson: Invincible
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Sound — 6
Michael Jackson's latest, and presumably last, non-"greatest-hits" record fittingly debuted in the U.S. on the day before Halloween in 2001. The question in the mind of every critic and fan was whether or not the nearly 45 year-old performer could still moonwalk away from the controversies surrounding him and once again put on a brilliant show from the tattered throne of the "King of Pop" in the new millennium. Unfortunately for both Jackson and his fans "Invincible" is anything but. One of Jackson's most enduring strengths has been his rhythmic ability; songs like "In the Closet," and "Smooth Criminal" are glowing examples. From this perspective, "Invincible" fairs rather well, but not srongly. Jackson has opted to create his rhythms mostly electronically, and the sound often feels mechanized, and too tightly wound. Jackson would've done better to create them (particulary the title track) using his own voice, as he has done in the past. The sound of the album is most comparable to that of his '91 album, "Dangerous." However, where "Dangerous" felt gritty, real, and organic, "Invincible" sounds cold, metallic, and glossy. Melodically, "Invincible" is not bad. "Heartbreaker" stands as the catchiest up-tempo track, with "Break of Dawn" being the catchiest ballad. However, where Jackson would've done better to focus on embellishing and elaborating his melodies, he chose instead to lengthen the tracks, giving the listener larger helpings of the basics. Because of this, tracks eventually begin to feel like a whole lot of the same thing (i.e. the overly-long and repetitive "Unbreakable").

Lyrics — 4
Lyrically, "Invincible" is either average or down-right tepid. After the '93 molestation allegations, Jackson's lyrics aquired a persistent self-focus that has turned at least one fan (myself) off to his music, post-Dangerous. In my opinion, "HIStory" and "Blood on the Dancefloor" are better seen as side projects Jackson made for the sake of therapy sessions rather than legitimate creations intended for public pleasure. Jackson should've considered "Invincible" his shining chance to take both his and the public's mind off of his personal woes, and prove that it was once again "all about the music." As we all know, he didn't. "Privacy" is lyrically tepid - a sour reminder of the troll-ish image Jackson gained in the mid-late 90's. "Unbreakable" and "Threatened" are likewise lyrically hostile and bizarre. These are not songs that most people, if anybody, can relate well too. "Lost Children" and "Speechless" simply should never have been allowed onto the album. Both songs are easily the most embarrasing and awkward of Jackson's career, complete with children's choirs and tepid effects. The children's dialogue at the end of "Lost Children" serves no purpose and is downright creepy. I know of nobody who would feel comfortable playing these songs in their car with the windows down. The ballads are generic. "Butterflies" is lyrically odd, and could be seen either as more lyrical regression on Jackson's part, or as a refreshing escape from the "baby let's f*ck" world of modern rap and hip-hop. "Break of Dawn" is quite good, but Michael Jackson has certainly not presented himself in a manner that invites people to think or to want to think of him in a sexualized manner. The quality of Jackson's voice is a subject I was surprised to find never discussed amid reactions to "Invincible." There is a nasal, strained, distorted quality to his voice at times that bares little resemblence to the performer who sang "Billie Jean," "Smooth Criminal," or even "Dangerous." Whether or not Jackson takes voice altering substances, or is experiencing the results of too many plastic-surgery operations near his sinus cavities, is open to debate. None the less, the quality of Jackson's voice, specifically on the album's first three tracks, is disconcerting. While Jackson remains always in tune, he often sounds uncomfortable, constricted, or stuffed up, occasionally to a degree that one might find embarrasing and unpleasant.

Overall Impression — 6
"Invincible" is not Jackson's worst album, but it is a bitter disappointment to those hoping for a revitalized, relevant return to his glory days during the 80s and early 90s. And yet, "Invincible" is not an unfitting end to Jackson's career. Jackson has always been his own worst enemy - I don't doubt that "Invincible" was truly an attempt to achieve something great; however, Jackson's sensibilities simply are not what they used to be, clouded perhaps by bizarre obsessions and darker things. If "Invincible" saw the return of Jackson to any golden throne, it is one that sits alone in a deserted castle, deep in a darkening valley where most feel uncomfortable to travel. And as of recently, the castle walls have been crumbling quickly, but the king still does not budge from his throne...

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    KileManA7X
    Jackson rules the school! I think he's making a new one this year or next year. I'd see him!
    Gots2HaveMuzak
    Haven't heard all the songs on this album yet, but I do like the few I've heard so far. '2000 Watts' and 'Speechless' being two of my favs.
    KgMan741
    My favorite michael jackson albums are Thriller, Bad, and Off The wall but invincible was not invincible
    CaptnOats10101
    invincible has good songs, but this is ultimate guitar, theres no riffs in these songs. its a good cd, unbreakable, butterflies, you rock my world. alll good songs
    Splashed
    I do agree with the fact that the tech made this album sound too metallic but I do think this is a grossly underrated record. There are some damn FINE songs on this. Speechless is one of his best and touching songs in my opinion. Whatever Happens is so awesome. Butterflies is magnificent. But we all have our opinions so you know, it's cool.
    Gerard Way Jr
    Nice review; you made some really good points. The only song I've grown to like thus far is "You Rock My World." I dunno. Guess Michael kinda lost his touch after Bad and HIStory. (Didn't like Dangerous that much).
    benthegrunge
    i have done an alternative review but it got slotted under thriller by mistake, so read that if you want more reaction to invincible
    Splashed
    I think this album is like. So underrated. This is like Mj said, one of his best records. It all comes down to opinion of course, and I respect everyone else's, but my opinion is that this is one of the best albums og MJ's career and of the decade
    StarsFallForMJ
    NOOOOO!!! I love this album! The lost children is beautiful and AHHHMAZING! And Speechless....well what can I say...it BLOWS MY MIND...gaahh his voice. I listened to that song on repeat for like 3 hours! And it is NOT embarassing! @Splashed you aer a smart dude! I love this record! Butterflies is amazing, and whatever happens is just...WOW!... yeah, the album is a bit electronic...but it feature some of his greatest work. Well, I may be a bit bias...and it makes me feel sick to the stomache to hear anything bad about him. He is the KING forever! And i love him....and I dont know about anyone else but I have NO problem with his voice! I think he is vocall at his best on songs like the above mentioned...and the Dont Walk Away...GAAAAHH again! His voice is INCREDIBLE....OK im calm....sorry...
    StarsFallForMJ
    I just re-read the review...and I AM NOT CALM AGAIN! Gosh....'tattered throne'?!?!?! What flippin tattered throne...he is ETERNALLY THE KING! Oh and really...hmm... "'Break of Dawn' is quite good, but Michael Jackson has certainly not presented himself in a manner that invites people to think or to want to think of him in a sexualized manner."...i think he presented himself perfectly!...I mean have YOU SEEN HIM! ...ehem...Dirty Diana video...Ehem!!