Somebody's missing a friend, hold on
Somebody's lacking a hero
And they have not a clue
When it's all gonna end
Stories buried and untold
Someone is hiding the truth, hold on
When will this mystery unfold
And will the sun ever shine
In the blind man's eyes when he cries?
Invincible is the tenth studio album recorded by Michael Jackson. Recording for the album commenced in October 1997 and was completed in September 2001. It was released through Epic Records on October 30, 2001.
It is Jackson's last studio album to be released during his lifetime, and his 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 2000s. 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 them that he was leaving the company.
Sony then 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, although it would be released digitally a couple years later.
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 other music video for the album ("Cry", which was released as a single and the only other one to get a video, doesn't feature him in it), and, save for two Milestone Celebration concerts and a 9/11 charity concert he organized, did not tour at all to promote the album. In response, Sony refused to renew Jackson's contract, only releasing the Greatest Hits Album Number Ones because it was the last album Jackson owed them.
With costs totaling $30+ million, Invincible is reported to be the most expensive album ever made, and by a considerable margin (the second most expensive album ever madenote cost $13 million). These expenses came down to the astronomical $25 million promotional budget and the use of 9 lavishly expensive producers to record between 50 and 87 songs over 5 years. This was eventually slashed down to just 16 tracks for the album's release. Music critics and fans have long speculated that a number of songs on the album were about Jackson's ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley. This speculation was bolstered when Presley stated in a 2010 interview that Jackson continued to have an on-again-off-again relationship with her for four years after their divorce.
Invincible would be Jackson's third-last worldwide number one album during his lifetimenote . 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 bittersweet 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 being "too long".
- Alternate Album Cover: The album's cover art has five different versions, each with their own color palettes. The main one is a combination of white and silver, while the other four are red, blue, green, and orange.
- 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 (this version would appear as a bonus track on their album Floetic 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 of 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".
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to Dangerous and HI Story Past Present And Future Book I, Invincible is considerably softer thematically, as it drops much of the Protest Songs about the controversy surrounding Jackson from those albums. While its still has some relatively serious songs, the album is overall closer to the themes of Thriller and Bad.
- New Sound Album: Invincible finally ended the New Jack Swing sound Michael used from 1991 to 1997, and brought him closer to the pop sound of the late 90s-early 2000s .
- 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 sampled from The Twilight Zone (1959).
- 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.