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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Music Retrospective - Michael Jackson: Invincible

Well, it was bound to come to this. I’ve finally gotten to Michael’s last album… official last album, anyway. I’m not counting the post-death ones like Michael and Xscape. Invincible was released in 2001 and it was Jackson’s first studio album in a long time. He had help in writing a lot of the songs. The album sold well but not as well as most of his previous albums. I do remember that there was some talk going on about the album not being promoted enough. The album only released four singles. It was apparently supposed to release more, but that didn’t happen for some reason. One song did get nominated for a Grammy though.

This is another album I don’t own physically own though I probably should. My sister has it, so I downloaded it from her. It’s also one I really hadn’t listened to until I really started this project. The only songs I knew about were the two singles that were played on radio back in the day. I really didn’t know what to expect when I got to listening to it a few months ago. So, how does this album ultimately shape up?

Invincible


  1. Unbreakable – Like all his other albums, Invincible starts out with a pretty funky and groovy tune. "Unbreakable" is basically about not being broken by things in life. It also has an extended rap verse from the late Notorious B.I.G. The verse was actually lifted from Shaquille O’Neil’s song, “Can’t Stop the Reign.” Yes, I’m still shocked that Shaq had a rap career but that song is actually decent in my opinion, Anyway, while I like the verse, its subject matter doesn’t really match up with this song. Overall, I like the song. It has nice lyrics and some pretty cool music.
  2. Heartbreaker – We got another fast, funky song to listen to. “Heartbreaker” is about dealing with one of those two-timing women. I don’t know if it’s “Random Female Woman,” but it might as well be. The song also has a short rap verse from someone named Fats. It’s okay but it goes by so quick I really got no opinion on it. As for the song, I like this one. Even if can’t I tell what Jackson’s saying at times, it has a nice beat on the drums. The music makes the song worth listening to.
  3. Invincible – Next up is the song that the album gets its name from. The nice, groovy song is about a guy who’s trying to get with a woman who’s not that into him. Even though he can give her the world, she would rather be with someone else. Fats also provides a rap verse on here and it’s alright. The lyrics are nice and the music is good as usual. Overall, the song is fine but it’s not one of my favorites on the album.
  4. Break of Dawn – We get our first slow ballad here. The song is basically about being with your loved one till the break of dawn. It’s a love song, pure and simple. The lyrics are fine and the music is decent as well. To tell you the truth, it’s also kind of bland. It’s not bad but it is one of the more forgettable songs on the album.
  5. Heaven Can Wait – Next up is another slow ballad. The song is about a guy who doesn’t want to be apart from his woman even if Death itself is separating them. I like the lyrics and the music has a nice rhythm. For some reason, this song cracks me up when Jackson unleashes the high notes. Maybe it’s his urgency or something, but I just lose it during that part. Overall, it’s a fine song.
  6. You Rock My World – “You Rock My World” was the first single released and the only song that got a music video on here. After a verbal… thing with actor Chris Tucker, the song starts out awesomely. A part of me wishes they started off the album with this! The song is a straight-up love song. The man is giving his woman all sorts of compliments. The lyrics are sweet and the music is pretty solid throughout the song. I like it and it’s one of the best songs on here.
  7. Butterflies – This slower, melodic song was another single that was released and it was the only other song I actually heard on radio. It’s another love song. It’s about a guy trying his best to get with someone. She gives him the flutters and I don’t think it’s gas either. The music sounds pretty nice and I like the lyrics. Jackson also lets out some high notes. Don’t worry, they didn’t crack me up. Overall, I like this song but it’s not one of my favorites.
  8. Speechless – Next up is another love ballad. Wasn’t it one of the Beatles that said “all we need is love?” I like love songs, but it feels like too much love. Anyway, “Speechless” is basically a love letter from one to another. He tells her how he feels about her and that he loves her. It’s well-made song with Jackson putting his all into it. The music’s fine and pretty understated. In the end, it’s a pretty song and I like it.
  9. 2,000 Watts – We speed things back up with this song. “2,000 Watts” is… all about that bass? I actually don’t know what this song’s about. Jackson throws out random audio jargon and it actually makes little sense. If it is about anything else, let me know. All I know is that Michael does his best “Usher” impression here. He sings the whole song in a pretty deep voice. If anything, that makes the song worth listening to. Overall, it’s a fine dance song. There isn’t much to it, but it has enough to make you dance.
  10. You Are My Life – Next up is another slow, love song. Jackson’s basically telling someone how important they are in his life. It can really be anyone like God, a spouse, a parent, a child, or a mentor. It’s a little inspirational in how this person brought the singer up. It’s actually kind of like “Will You Be There.” Anyway, this song’s alright, but it’s actually one I’ve tended to skip.
  11. Privacy – Now, we’ve gotten to the media-bashing Michael. It’s about time. This song is essentially about how Jackson wants his privacy from the media and Paparazzi. It’s a lot like his other media-bashing songs. We also get a pretty cool guitar solo by Slash from Guns N Roses. I’m guessing this serves as our Rock ballad for the album. I like this song overall.  It provided a nice change of pace for the at this point.
  12. Don’t Walk Away – The album then comes to a screeching halt with this sad song. It’s a break-up song. The guy doesn’t want to break up with his lover, but it’s going to happen no matter what. It’s somber and downbeat. It’s a fine song, but it’s not one of the best on here. It’s actually one I tend to skip.
  13. Cry – Next up is a song that’s in the same avenue as “Man in The Mirror” and “Heal The World.” It talks about all the problems everyone has in the world. Like the songs I mentioned, it says we can change the world by uniting through our pains, fears, and sufferings. The song even goes into “Gospel Mode” at the end like this is a message from the heavens or something. This is one of my favorite songs on the album. The music’s good, the lyrics are good, and the singing’s good. It’s just an all-around good, uplifting song.
  14. The Lost Children – The next song is another slow one. I could make a joke about Jackson and children, but I’m not that type of guy to do that. Anyway, the song is about runaways and homeless children that are out there. Basically, the song says to not forget about them. It’s a nice simple song with a pretty relevant message. Still, I find the song to be just okay.
  15. Whatever Happens – Next up is a faster song about a couple going through troubles. Even thought it gets tough for them, they’ll stay together. Jackson gets assisted by Carlos Santana on the guitar. Santana makes a song that is pretty average a little above average. It’s good, but it’s not one of my favorite songs on the album.
  16. Threatened – The final song on the album is one that is in the same avenue as “Thriller” and “Is it Scary.” The music’s pumping and the lyrics talk about some creepy stuff. there is a part of me that wonders if the song has another message in it though I doubt it. The song also has tracks of Rod Sterling’s narrations from The Twilight Zone. We even get to hear Sterling rap. While that is interesting, all it does is make me think the skits that involve Reporter Brian Williams on The Nightly Show on NBC. Overall, the song is pretty good and brings this long album to a close.


Favorite Song – This one is a little tough because there are some really good songs on here. I’ll go with “You Rock My World” since that’s the song that really impressed me.

Least Favorite Song – If had to pick which one I skip the most, it’ll have to be “Don’t Walk Away.” “Break of Dawn” is close but not too far.

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In the end, it seems like Invincible needs to take a dip in Ra’s al Ghul’s Lazarus Pits. Hopefully, you’ll get that reference. The album is good but it’s not his best work. I feel like it starts out fine and it ends fine. The middle is where you might get issues. Some songs are pretty good while others are not as good. I’d probably listen to half of the album while I’ll skip the other half. It kind of feels too long. I don’t know what it is. I think it actually feels like Off the Wall at times and that’s an album I also have mixed feelings about.

That being said, I still enjoy this album. The music is pretty good for the most part. It’s pure R and B mixed with some hip-hop and pop music. The lyrics are good as usual. Even though we’ve had heard most of the same in other albums, a decent song from Jackson is better than most songs from artists. Jackson himself sounded deeper. He didn’t let out a lot of high notes here unlike with his previous albums. I guess age caught up to him. Overall, I say give the album a listen because I was quite surprised in how much I enjoyed most of the album.

Now, there were other songs that were supposed to show up on this album, but they didn’t for whatever reason. One of them was “Blue Gangsta.” It’s actually one that has shown up on recent Xscape album. If I had to ask Jackson a question, it would be this: Why wasn’t this song on there? This was a pretty cool song. It’s got a nice beat, good lyrics, and it’s even got horns thrown in. “Blue Gangsta” could’ve easily replace most of the forgettable songs on Invincible, or at least I think so.

Anyway, that ends my look at Michael’s albums. I might look at the post-death albums one day but it won’t be anytime soon. Next time is going to be a little different. I’m going to attempt to list my 30 favorite songs from Michael Jackson. He’s my favorite artist, so I might as well end this big. I’ll also list my favorite album. Until then, Peace and God Bless.

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