Michael Jackson is the man who has defined a generation; he has written classics such as Billie Jean, Black or White, Thriller and performed them in his own unique style a style that countless others have copied, but never bettered. This, Invincible, is the star's first new material in six years. It follows 1996's History, which was a 'best of' and also contained new material such as 1995 Christmas Number One Earth Song.
Invincible reportedly cost Michael a massive £20 million. The boss of Michael's record label Sony's Epic imprint claims that the album contains some of Michael's "best work to date". The unfortunate thing is, it doesn't. Invincible doesn't even compare to some of Michael's aforementioned classics but you don't have to be up to the standard of a Michael Jackson classic to be good, do you?
When Michael first announced details of the album people were expecting groundbreaking material; music that would stop and make everybody think, music that proved Michael Jackson was still capable of creating those classics. Rock My World the first single to be lifted from the album, meaning it would be the first that people heard and therefore the track that will sell the album is an R'n'B/pop track that is reminiscent of a lot of the R'n'B/pop currently high in the charts at the moment. It's nothing groundbreaking or even different, doesn't that tell us that the album will be the same?
Let's hope not. Opening the long-player is Unbreakable; kicking in twenty seconds into the CD this track features a heavy bass-riff with some typical Michael Jackson strings over it. One minute into the track you hear Michael's classic vocals reminding us that Michael Jackson is still here, and this is not as bad as it could be. A fast memorable melody features in the chorus reaffirming Michael can make decent music.
Heartbreaker this is the opposite. It sounds like a bad version of some of the wacky dance music playing on some people's stereos at the moment. However, it does feature a chorus that is not too awful. Two tracks into the album and we're already stuck with an opinion.
Number three is the title-track. It's just under five minutes of a funky bass under Michael's storming vocals. The chorus tells us, "She's invincible." Who? I don't know. It's strange working out exactly some of this man's music is all about. There are more of those funky rhythms later on in the album but following Invincible is Break of Dawn a ballad.
Again, we are either looking back on Michael's past career or looking at the current charts. This is a version of the "looking back" variety. It's reminiscent of some of the melodies on History as is track number eight, Speechless; this time we have very little production and just Michael's vocals over some strings and harmonies in the chorus.
2000 Watts sounds as the name suggests. It is a pumping, chanting track reminiscent of Michael's 1996 follow-up to Earth Song They Don't Really Care About Us. The only difference being that They Don't Really Care About Us was actually the real Michael Jackson and not the fake that slipped into the studio when this was recorded.
You Are My Life, Privacy, Don't Walk Away, Cry are all ballads of some sort. Michael Jackson has done them all though. Cry, written by R Kelly, is the highlight of the four. The Lost Children which follows those four ballads is, again, a ballad; this one contains a fantastically melodic melody and even some sounds of happy children, how nice; it's been done.
The penultimate Whatever Happens has a semi-Spanish feel and the ultimate Threatened leaves the ballads for the first time in about six tracks and travels back to the rhythmic, window-smashing (Dangerous) tunes.
Invincible is nothing special. If you already own a copy of History then I think that is all you will need to experience the real music Michael Jackson and not the 'I just want to sell some more records' side.