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Invincible- 'The Weakest Link' (1 Viewer)

Invincible was the last solo album from Michael. This album has received many low reviews and slack from the fan community.

Let's discuss why it is the least favourite album from Michael.

Also if you have any positives post away!

The album certainly has some hidden gems, ‘Break of Dawn’, ‘Whatever Happens’ and ‘Heaven Can Wait’ come to mind as personal favourites.
Some of the tracks left on the cutting room floor, such as ‘Xscape’, ‘A Place With No Name’ and ‘Beautiful Girl’ are in my opinion stronger than some of the final tracks. Of course the lack of single releases (which is a whole other story) would have impacted the memorability of the album outside of the fan base.
I personally like the album and it is certainly underrated, vocally I think it delivered some of the best performances of Michaels career. However, I do think the album might have suffered from “too many cooks in the kitchen”, in relation to the number of collaborators that worked on it over time.
Was actually discussing this with @Gooner and @ps_777 over the weekend. There's for sure 3/4 songs that the album could do without. Lost Children, You are my life and 2000 watts.

The songs are 'okay/good' in their own merits, but simply not album material. If B-sides were a thing these days, they'd make the cut. Imagine Escape/Xscape on Vince. Would totally have fit!
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In my opinion there was no diversity in the album. Invincible/Unbrekable, very similar songs. Both good in their own right but not for the same album, the same with Whatever Happens/Heaven Can Wait.

2000 watts & butterflies were both fairly average songs in the first place. But after the vocals were autotuned to hell and pitch shifted it made them worse.

Threatened is good, YRMW is also pretty strong, but a bit overrated in my opinion.

A majority of the songs would have done better if they were released as standalone singles throughout the 00's instead of a full album.
Every time I listen to Invincible, I have this moment of thinking, "Oh yeah, this is why I love so much of the stuff on this album." However, the moments on the album that don't work for me really don't work for me in the context of the album. Which is a shame, because there were some really great contenders for the album that just didn't make the cut and would have made it that much stronger as a collection of songs, but still, likely not as much as a cohesive album.

I agree that a lot of them could have worked as standalone singles, I actually like that idea a lot.
I think dislike also stems from the fact he didn't really want to do the album due to the worsening Sony relationship.

I think there are some amazing songs on there but some could have been even better. Look at Cry; instead of that soulesss chorus behind him he should have used Boyz II Men.
Actually I think its only since Michael died that this has been perceived as a least favorite album.

For many of us, Invincible era was one of the most amazing times to be a fan. It was also the first time there was an online fan community for an album release.

From about 1998 onwards, when messageboards and internet chat rooms became mainstream, the fans were able for the first time to follow in real time the making of Invincible.

Studio techs (ahem... Stewart Brawley...) joined places like KOPBOARD and leaked information to fans. Rodney Jerkins gave media interviews and news about where Michael was recording was followed in real time.

Many songs from the album were leaked to fans and were circulating in the fan community in 2001.

Then summer 2001 and the unofficial official leak of YRMW on a New York radio station.

Then the concerts in MSG.

Then the CD signing

Then then online webchat with Get Music

2001 was an amazing year to be part of the fan community.

Yes we also knew about the SONY Wars, but it was only in 2002 that things really happened.

The Sony demo's were in 2002. June 2002 was the London one and the now famous Killer Thriller speech. I was at both. I was also at the Berlin, Germany Sony Demo.

Michael also was on an open top bus at the New York Sony demo.

The songs and music were a reflection of Michaels life at the time. Fans now a days seem to dismiss songs like The Lost Children, You Are My Life etc, without actually understanding Michael life during the time when these songs were written.

Threaten for example is written about Mariah Carey and her issues with Tommy Motolla.

You Are My Life, about Prince and Paris and his joy at being a father. Those years between the end of History tour and 2003 were the happiets times of his life.

2000 Watts, showing off his vocal ranges while at the same time showing a more adult side in the lyrics.

Also I think , now a days with music streaming, the fan community don't really understand the story telling and why songs are in a particular order on album. Fans pick and choose the order now and don't listen to the songs in the album running order, therefore missing out on the album flow and story that Michael created.

To really understand Invincible, you have to know and understand Michaels personal life during the years 1998 to 2001. You have to step back from the stage, step back from Michael Jackson superstar entertainer and see Michael, dad of 2 young children who for the first time found unconditional love.
@Moonstreet fantastic reply!
As a fan from post 2009, I often look at the invincible era as beginning in Summer/ Autumn 2001. Sometimes forgetting that hype and build up to Michaels “come back album” began in 1998, with the original release date being penned for sometime in 1999.
As with much of Michaels art, particularly later in his career, knowing what his life was like at the time is important to gain an appreciation for the music. I have heard conflicting stories about how involved Michael was during the invincible sessions, of course we know only two of the final tracks were written by him. However, he was suffering from the 99 Munich Earth Song incident and also was now balancing fatherhood with his profession.
Overall, the album really feels like a hidden gem amongst Michaels incredible discography. I always love playing invincible tracks to non fan friends.
The album is a great album in my opinion. I do however feel that the music is over produced. All of Michael's albums beforehand had such high quality instrumentation and mixing, whereas this album seems different in that regard. I feel like Michael's voice is lost amongst the music - I would love the hear more 'stripped back' mixes.

I've got to say though, I love some of the darker, electronic, heavy songs in this album! 2000 watts, Threatened, Unbreakable, Heartbreaker, Invincible! Speechless remains one of the most beautiful songs MJ ever recorded in my opinion.
Actually I love Invincible and play it quite often. Maybe it's because my favourite song Speechless is on this album. I would really love it if someone who knew about the background of Invincible would write about it. I guess I should start by rereading Man in the Music. I think Michael always tried to develop his art and I'd love to know more about that. There is so much more information about his other albums.
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While Invincible does offer an intriguing perspective into Jackson's life at that time, I feel the music is weakened by his lack of input in the production.

The music lacks MJ's rhythmic pulse if you will. In comparison to say, the up tempo tracks of Dangerous, his final effort seems to lack his signature compositional touch. A song like She Drives Me Wild is built around his internal beatboxing, ear for melody and harmonic vocal conversions into string arrangements.

The song is literally an extension of himself. On that track in particular he expresses the musicality through automobile sounds and samples exclusively, giving it that mechanical and industrial vibe that exists similarly on some of the Invincible tracks.

Problem is, if you were to take 2000 Watts, that same internal quality feels lost. Michael is singing over the track, but it is not of him (at least to my ears)

At that point his reliance on producers procuring material for him had gone over board. You can look up demo versions of many of the best songs on Invincible and see Jackson largely just sings over the original, using them as guide tracks and yet somehow gaining writing credit.

He peppers them with some adlibs and signature vocal tics (albeit the Hee Hee's have been largely benched since his 90s output) but the arrangements lack the syncopation of his stronger efforts on Bad and Thriller. The grooves don't run as deep because they're overwrought with musical embellishments, I. E. its over produced.

Here's the thing; Off The Wall also only had two song writing contributions from Jackson. Some of the other material was seemingly tailored for him in particular. Rock With You is the perfect example, written by Rod Temperton to suit MJ.

In the cases of tracks given to the production team (I Can't Help It from Stevie Wonder, or Girlfriend from Paul McCartney) you can see the high caliber talent that provided them. This plus the production guidance from wizard Quincy Jones and a younger and very hungry MJ results in a tighter, shorter and overall better album.

Invincible isn't a bad record. But the standard of excellence and curation of cutting edge material that permeated his other studio albums had waned considerably since HIStory. That aforementioned record is a better ending point for his career.

But yeah, not a bad effort, but I think Pharrell should have produced instead of Rodney Jerkins alone.

Actually I love Invincible and play it quite often. Maybe it's because my favourite song Speechless is on this album. I would really love it if someone who knew about the background of Invincible would write about it. I guess I should start by rereading Man in the Music. I think Michael always tried to develop his art and I'd love to know more about that. There is so much more information about his other albums.

My go to book for information about Michaels songs and albums is
Michael Jackson For The Record
originally published in 2007 and updated in 2009
Written by Chris Cadman and Craig Halstead from The Michael Jackson Archives fan website

This is some information about Invincible from that book

Heaven Can Wait
Written by Teddy Reily. Originally supposed to be on Blackstreets 1999 album Finally.

You Are My Life
Was chosen over Shout for the final album playlist

You Rock My World
Would have been included on Visionary but was replaced by Heal The World
The spoken intro was originally meant for Invincible but Rodney Jerkins decided to put it on YRMW.

Written by Michael in Germany. He was visiting friends and had a water balloon fight with their children and was in a very happy frame of mind.

2000 Watts
Originally meant for Tyrese 's album but Michael heard the demo and recorded it instead.
Written by Michael in Germany. He was visiting friends and had a water balloon fight with their children and was in a very happy frame of mind.
I have also heard (and I wish I could remember where, I believe it might have been from Michael himself) that he was inspired to write ‘Speechless’ while admiring the scenery in Germany/ Switzerland. Knowing Michael, both are probably true but I’m leaning more towards the account you mentioned as being the main inspiration.
I have also heard (and I wish I could remember where, I believe it might have been from Michael himself) that he was inspired to write ‘Speechless’ while admiring the scenery in Germany/ Switzerland. Knowing Michael, both are probably true but I’m leaning more towards the account you mentioned as being the main inspiration.

both could be true, Michael was... ahem... "economical" with the truth when it suited him 😂
Like Moonstreet, Invicible has so many memories for me as a fan experiencing it building up and being released. I became a fan just moments after Dangerous was released and was too young to go to the tour, and while I was then older and an ‘active’ fan by HIStory, there wasn’t really the access to the build up through the internet etc like there was by Vince. Hence the massive launch hype and statue mayhem fabness.

That being said, it is definitely my least listened-to album in its entirety. I guess being at work by then meant I was annoyingly not being able to listen to and watch Michael all-day-every-day (how inconvenient😡). But that being said, individual songs are high in my list of faves, like Whatever Happens, Heaven Can Wait, Break of Dawn & Cry. And I have a lot of love for other tracks, but do agree that some seemed to have less of Michael’s essence in them. Totally agree that those swapped out were way better than the final cut - let’s just pause to wonder what Fall Again and We’Ve Had Enough were doing in the vault! Though like has also already been said, the issues with $ony may have impacted on the decision making (saving ‘better’ songs for release away from that company maybe?).

Just to namedrop, I was chatting to Taryll a few years back about the album aswe were discussing fave tracks etc, and I mentioned to him that the fact that Michael had other singers doing the backing vocals made it sound less Michaely than previous albums. Although he has used other vocalists before, the overriding sound on all previous albums was Michael’s voice, and that wasn’t the case with everything on Invincible. Like others have said, the production just sounded different.

However I also appreciate that he was working with people that were considered the new breed of music innovators, so it makes sense that he chose them for this project. Same as when he moved on from Quincy and there’s a clear difference to the sound between Bad and Dangerous. But maybe there was just too many of them in this case to sound ‘cohesive’.

All of that being said, Michael’s vocals were beautiful, and he really took me back to the early Jacksons tracks in terms of the soul sound. Which I just love💕 And had $ony promoted it properly and we’d had the strongest tracks released as singles with epic videos (my life will never be complete as we don’t have short films for Break of Dawn and Whatever Happens ... other than the ones in my head which I don’t think I should go into here😜🤤), it would have sold more and been more in the public consciousness than it ended up being.
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I really like Invincible. My main interest of Michael is from Off The Wall onwards, I don't really like most of The Jackson's stuff, but I do love quite a lot of J5.
However, since OTW, I haven't disliked any songs up until Invincible came along. Girlfriend and The Girl Is Mine are weak, but I didn't dislike them. Invincible was my 2nd favourite whole album for a while until I relistened to HIStory a while back and it took its slot. Although I love songs like Unbreakable, Whatever Happens and 2000 Watts, songs like You Are My Life and Don't Walk Away were the first for for me to think "meh, skip that". For the first time ever as well, I thought the actual title track was pants too and that's an important one to get right.

Some of the songs I've heard since that never made it should have replaced several on it, but he could have had some big hits with others on there.
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I like Invincible a lot. I think its not more popular because of the lack of "short movies" to build an imaginary of the song in our brain. Take Beat It, for exemple, when you hear the song images of the "short movie" comes to the brain. The same happens with a lot of his songs. I think Michael reinforced the message of his words and music through the movie, to create a full concept. That's why this album had less impact. The songs are good, and I enjoy listening to his voice. I actually like a lot 2000 Watts (very sexy...:p), Whatever Happens, Dont Walk away, Break of Dawn....
Invincible is an interesting album to me because there isn't a song on the album that I would say was actually bad, but at the same time I wouldn't go out of my way to listen to any of the tracks. When it first came out, I loved Butterflies, but other than that, I could take or leave most of the songs. I agree with what others have said; that it was perhaps a case of there being too many people involved at it was overproduced (not that I know anything about making music). MJ always said he created from his heart, but with this album it seemed like he was intent on trying to create what others would think was a good album, but there is also the fact that he had a lot going on at that time, as other people have already said. However, I don't agree with the complete slating that I see from some people about this album (not on here); I've seen/heard people say that his vocals are terrible and album is a mess. I don't think that at all and I thought some of the vocals on the album were incredible (like on Butterflies). The fact that it's portrayed in the media as a flop is also a bit ridiculous considering it sold about 9-11 million copies (depending on what figures you believe). If that was an album by anyone else, it would be seen as a massive success, and those sales figures were pretty amazing when you consider what happened with Sony and the lack of promotion at the time.

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