Six years after the new material on his greatest hits collection (HIStory) dropped with a thud, Michael Jackson's long-awaited follow-up doesn't sound much better.
Invincible is nothing like its name, and sadly, it finds the once invincible gloved one as a pained parody of himself.
Who's advising this guy? Who in their right mind says to Michael Jackson, “Yeah Michael, what your career needs right now is for you to record a song about how much you love children...and while you're at it, throw a children's chorus on that baby.”
Amazingly, that's what the emperor of Neverland delivers on “The Lost Children,” and it's just one of the most jarring examples of bad taste on a disc that's loaded with questionable choices, petty whining, and mediocre material.
The man who played the media majestically on his rise to fame now groans about being persecuted by the paparazzi, going as far as to somehow equate his own situation with veiled references to Princess Diana in the downright embarrassing “Privacy.” It may be the worst song of Jackson's career, though there are others here that come close, like the repetitive “2000 Watts” or “Threatened,” which finds him recording yet another song about monsters, complete with spoken word segments from the late Rod Serling.
There are occasional flashes of the old Jackson magic, the kind that made discs like Off the Wall and Thriller such classics.
He rides a smooth groove very effectively on “Break of Dawn” and despite the way it positions the singer as loverboy supreme, it's impossible to resist. The single “You Rock My World” is equally well suited to Jackson in 2001, and he teams exquisitely with Carlos Santana on the guitar-showcase ballad “Whatever Happens, ”which features some of MJ's finest vocal work on the album.
Unfortunately, those songs are the exceptions here. The self-proclaimed King of Pop sounds far from convincing and Invincible proves to be a major disappointment.