Invincible is the tenth and final studio album by Michael Jackson, released in 2001. It is his last studio album to be released during his lifetime, and the last non-compilation album to be composed entirely of original material. It is perhaps most notorious for the Executive Meddling behind its development.
In-between studio sessions for the album, Jackson found himself at odds with Sony over his recording contract. Jackson had expected the licenses to all of his masters from his past album releases to revert to him in the early 2000's. However, thanks to several clauses in the contract, the date was much farther away than he initially thought. On top of this, Jackson also discovered that the attorney who worked with him in the deal was also working for Sony, creating a conflict of interest he was unaware about for at least a decade. This, among other business worries with Sony, led to him informing Sony that he was leaving the company.
Unfortunately, that decision would end up biting the "King of Pop" in the ass.
Sony consequently castrated all promotional efforts for Invincible, including cancelling several single releases, and the few that were kept only got promotional/radio releases, effectively flushing the album's $30 million budget down the drain. of the four singles released, only "Butterflies" and "You Rock My World" got radio releases in the US, with the latter becoming Jackson's final top ten entry on the Billboard Hot 100 during his lifetime. On top of this, a 9/11 charity single that was supposed to be released prior to Invincible got cancelled as well.
To say Jackson was pissed would be an Understatement. He hurled several insults at Sony, particularly Tommy Molotta, the CEO of the music division at the time, essentially saying that they were, to paraphrase, "holding him and the rest of their black artists back". He also, with the exception of "You Rock My World", refused to appear in any music videos for the singles ("Cry" is one of his few songs that doesn't feature him in its video), and, save for two Milestone Celebration concerts and a 9/11 charity event he organized, did not tour at all to promote the album (which would also come back to bite him, as he went to court over it in 2002). In response, Sony refused to renew Jackson's contract.
Invincible would be Jackson's third-last worldwide number one album during his lifetime note . However, the drama behind it, and everything else that would occur in his life in the years afterwards, effectively ended Jackson's career on a very sour note.
Not to be confused with the comic book of the same name.
- "Unbreakable" (6:26)
- "Heartbreaker" (5:11)
- "Invincible" (4:46)
- "Break Of Dawn" (5:32)
- "Heaven Can Wait" (4:49)
- "You Rock My World" (5:39)
- "Butterflies" (4:41)
- "Speechless" (3:21)
- "2000 Watts" (4:25)
- "You Are My Life" (4:33)
- "Privacy" (5:05)
- "Don't Walk Away" (4:24)
- "Cry" (5:00)
- "The Lost Children" (4:00)
- "Whatever Happens" (4:58)
- "Threatened" (4:20)
"You rocked my tropes, ya know ya did..."
- Album Filler: Several reviewers criticized the album's ballads for making it "too long".
- The Cameo: Chris Tucker appears in the intro to "You Rock My World". He would later appear in a slightly expanded role in the song's music video, which also had a cameo from Marlon Brando.
- Color Motif: A yellow, blue, red, green and white version of the album cover were used.
- Cover Version: "Butterflies," originally a demo by R&B duo Floetry. The track on Jackson's album is just him singing over the instrumental from said demo with their vocal mixed out (the original version appeared on their album Floetry one year later).
- Crossover: Due to Chris Tucker's presence, the extended music video for "You Rock My World" was also included in some theater and home video releases of Rush Hour 2.
- Epic Rocking: As mentioned above, a common criticism for the album was that there were too many songs which went on longer than they should have, with the opening track "Unbreakable" clocking in at almost 6-and-a-half minutes. Most of the other songs either come close to or surpass the five-minute mark, which in terms of pop music might as well be hours.
- Face on the Cover: A close-up of Michael's face is used on the cover.
- Femme Fatale: The titular girl from "Heartbreaker".
- Intercourse with You: "Break of Dawn".
- New Sound Album: Invincible finally ditched the New Jack Swing sound Michael used from 1991 to 1997, and brought him closer to the late 90s-early 2000s pop sound.
- One-Word Title: The album title and title track "Invincible". "Unbreakable", "Cry", "Privacy", "Heartbreaker", "Butterflies", "Speechless" and "Threatened".
- Posthumous Collaboration: The Notorious B.I.G.'s verse from "Unbreakable" was lifted from Shaquille O'Neal's "You Can't Stop the Reign". Likewise, Rod Serling's vocals from "Threatened" were taken from The Twilight Zone.
- Record Producer: Michael and Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins produced six tracks together ("Unbreakable", "Heartbreaker," "Invincible," "You Rock My World," "Privacy," "Threatened"). The others were produced by:
- Teddy Riley ("Heaven Can Wait," "2000 Watts," "Don't Walk Away," "Whatever Happens")
- Dr. Freeze ("Break Of Dawn")
- Andre Harris ("Butterflies")
- Babyface ("You Are My Life")
- R. Kelly ("Cry")
- And MJ by himself ("Speechless," "The Lost Children")
- Sampling: In addition to Rod Serling's vocals and the reused Biggie verse, "Unbreakable" also contains a sample of "Unbelievable", from Biggie's debut album Ready to Die.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: The music video of "Cry" is one of the few videos by Michael where he doesn't appear in. This disappointed a lot of fans and probably didn't do the single much good either.
- Special Guest: The Notorious B.I.G. appears (posthumously) on "Unbreakable". Fats appears on "Heartbreaker" and "Invincible". Slash appears on "Privacy". Carlos Santana appears on "Whatever Happens".
- Spiritual Successor: "Threatened" is a clear one to both Thriller and Michael Jackson's Ghosts. Michael Jackson biographer Randy Taraborrelli described the music video of "You Rock My World" as "basically a re-hash of the video for "Smooth Criminal", only with Michael now wearing a black suit instead of a white one."
- Title Track: "Invincible".
- Updated Re-release: The album was remastered and reissued twice after Jackson's death - in 2009, as part of The Collection (a comprehensive box set which included only the albums released in Epic, except HIStory) and again in 2013, in the iTunes-only collection, The Indispensable Collection.