Michael Jackson - Invincible 
Music Disc Reviews Audio CD
Written by Dan MacIntosh   
Tuesday, 30 October 2001

Epic Records, 2001
| Performance 6 | Sound 9 |

You can think yourself into success, or so say the so-called positive thinking experts. But even while Michael Jackson sings about how "Unbreakable" and "Invincible" he is on this much-anticipated new offering, he’s still perceived by much of the public as a fragile-as-fine-china former child star and little else.

Jackson talks tough over hand-clapped percussion on the song "Unbreakable," but it comes off sounding like those motormouth guys at the gym who brag about all their sexual conquests: all talk, no action.

Many of the songs on this album have one-word titles, which hints at the utter simplicity to be found in much of this generic-sounding music. "Heartbreaker" speaks about a -- you guessed it -- heartbreaker. "Privacy" screams out for (everybody all together now!) more alone time for our press-tortured King of Pop. "Break Of Dawn," with its bird noises at the beginning and swaying beat, forces the listener to envision our bleached one making love all night long. Yikes! Somebody please erase that image from my mental hard drive!

Jackson is too darn talented to release an album of total crap, which means there are still a few noticeable peaks on this otherwise flat landscape. "Butterflies" has the finger-snapping jazz quality of a Manhattan Transfer vocal vamp; "Speechless" brings to mind the innocence and vulnerability of "She's Out Of My Life," benefiting from a memorable choir-like vocal chorus that saturates it with an ABBA-esque feel. "Whatever Happens," with its old school funk groove, not unlike Ohio Players' classic "Love Rollercoaster," provides for an album-closing delight.

But this far from invincible collection of music misses the mark more times than it hits it. "2000 Watts" has a robotic vocal quality, sounding like an inventive rhythm track desperately searching for a real song. "You Are My Life" is a cliché-a-thon love ode ballad, with about as much depth as the Barney show theme.

Jackson has struggled for a few years now to regain his pop crown, but this release doesn’t have enough good stuff to bring him back to the throne his ego so obviously craves. "Invincible" is just window dressing, outlining a largely pathetic display of empty inspiration.

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