The Underrated: Michael Jackson- Invincible

By @peagle05

1. Unbreakable 
2. Heartbreaker 
3. Invincible 
4. Break of Dawn 
5. Heaven Can Wait
6. You Rock My World
7. Butterflies 
8. Speechless
9. 2000 Watts 
10. You Are My Life
11. Privacy
12. Don't Walk Away 
13. Cry
14. The Lost Children 
15. Whatever Happens 
16. Threatened 

Michael Jackson's Invincible is the last full length release we got from the King of Pop before his untimely death in 2009. Released in 2001, it was considered his comeback album despite releasing HIStory in 1995, as he hadn't released a full album of all-new material since 1991's Dangerous. Through its release, Michael Jackson faced issues with the record label as they inexplicably refused to promote it correctly. As such, it remains Jackson's most underrated album.

The album opens with ''Unbreakable'' as MJ looks to pick up the where he left off with the second disc of HIStory with the aggressive tone. This is Mike talking shit to anyone that ever tried to bury him, reminding them that through all the mess and the garbage, he's still the man and he isn't going anywhere. It is anchored by a verse from Biggie Smalls himself as MJ used his verse from ''You Can't Stop The Reign'' off of...Shaquille O' Neal's album of the same title (Yes, Shaq Feat Biggie happened).

The next two tracks on the album are ''Heartbreaker'' and the title track ''Invincible''. I lumped them together because despite how much I like both songs, they kind of bleed into each other. I often find myself not even noticing I'm into ''Invincible'' until halfway through. Despite this, MJ kills both songs vocally. ''Heartbreaker'' production wise is a little busy for me, especially near the end, but somehow he's never overpowered by his production. These tracks along with the first also commit the error of putting someone else on a track with MJ. Yeah Biggie is dope and hell Shaq even kept it simple on 2Bad on HIStory, but as I said in the Dangerous vs. Bad article, Mike doesn't need anyone else on his tracks.

Following those two up is ''Break of Dawn'', along with a few other songs on this album, among the most R&B sounding songs MJ has ever done and he kills it. This just a smooth track overall, production, vocals..defintely a top track in the album. I'm sure this song has made quite a few ''playlists'' since it's been out.

Now we're at my second favorite track on the album. ''Heaven Can Wait''. This song here is powerful, MJ sang this shit like he was going through it right then and there. I mean, Luther asked if Heaven could wait, Michael told Heaven it's waiting. This dude didn't want anybody else with his girl and going to Heaven isn't incentive enough to leave her and he's staying damn it. This song is fire and frequently gets repeated when I play the album. Following that up is the album's first single ''You Rock My World''. Dope upbeat MJ track, pretty standard for him and his interaction with Chris Tucker is hilarious. Who wouldn't laugh at Michael Jackson of all people saying ''She is bangin'!''

Next up is ''Butterflies'', one of only two songs on the album that weren't written by Jackson. Another solid, smooth track that allows him to flex his vocals. This track is followed by ''Speechless'', my third favorite track on the album as it is all MJ vocals, and yeah you have a choir section in there, but for the most part, it's not a very dense song production wise and Michael gives it everything he has.

So now we're at the halfway point of the album. 16 tracks in and I've touched on 8. No reason to think Mike doesn't come out strong in the second half right?

In the words of Charlie Murphy, ''WRONG....WRONG''. 

Track 9. 2000 Watts. This is the equivalent of the Eagles coming out of halftime and going 3 and out in the first 20 seconds of the 3rd quarter. It hurts my soul to say MJ dropped some trash, like it hurts my soul to say that CM Punk washed The Rock on the mic, but facts are facts and MJ dropped some straight up BOOTY(NEW DAY!!) with this track. Knowing that there are better songs left on the cutting room floor make the inclusion of this song even worse. Damn you Tyrese for being a part of know what? That's what I'm going to do, I'm blaming Tyrese. He released an album called 2000 Watts the same year, he helped write this song, it's his fault. Moving on.

Now we're back on track, with ''You Are My Life'', Michael Jackson's song to his children, just a dope song overall, and this is how the hell you sing to your kids and just a cool thought that they always have this after his death.

The next track is ''Privacy'' a standard MJ middle finger to the press and media as a whole, gravelly voice, rock sound. Can't go wrong with a Slash solo though.. It's a decent track, I find myself just kind of floating through it. Still don't skip it though *looks at 2000 Watts*. Coming up next is ''Don't Walk Away'' and to this point in the album and writing this article, I noticed this is the 6th slow tempo song on the album, HIStory was his only album with this many and we still have 2 more like it for a grand total of 8 for this album. Uncharacteristically balanced for an MJ album. Anyway, ''Don't Walk Away'' is another song that I enjoyed and while it feels strange to constantly make note of the vocals considering how good Michael Jackson was, it's just so much more noticable in this album to me and he nails it here as well.

Track 13: ''Cry''. Wouldn't be a Michael Jackson album without an overall call to arms for the people of the world to come together now, would it? Solid track though, I actually enjoy this more than ''Heal The World'', but not more than ''Earth Song''..that shit is untouchable. Next up is ''The Lost Children'', a track that just kind of comes out of nowhere but I don't hate it, it is  another song I just float through.

Now here we are, my absolute favorite track on the whole album, ''Whatever Happens''. To me, this is his best vocal performance on the album and one of his best ever on any album. He took off on this shit. Add to the fact he has Carlos Santana on guitar and you have a standout track on the album. I never play this less than 3 times in a row. Lyrics, beat, vocals..everything comes together on this one.

Here we are at the final track, ''Threatened'' AKA Thriller 2. Solid track to close though I could have done without the stitched together Rod Serling rap, but it's a cool, high energy track to close the album on. Wish this one could have gotten a video.

And that does it for the look at Invincible, a general departure from what we were used to hearing from Michael Jackson overall, while still managing to stay true to what he does best. How Sony decided they weren't going to promote a Michael Jackson album escapes me to this day, but they didn't and he still sold a crazy amount of records, 6 million between its release and early 2002 (making it a faster selling album than Thriller) and well over 13 million overall worldwide. Guess that's a perk of being Michael Jackson.



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