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|Studio album by Michael Jackson|
|Released||October 30, 2001|
|Recorded||October 1997–August 2001|
|Genre||R&B, pop, dance-pop|
|Producer||Michael Jackson (also exec.), Rodney Jerkins, Teddy Riley, Andre Harris, Andreao "Fanatic" Heard, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, R. Kelly, Dr. Freeze|
|Michael Jackson chronology|
|Singles from Invincible|
Three singles were released from the album: "You Rock My World", "Cry" and "Butterflies" of which the first and second were released as physical singles internationally (except the USA) and the third one being a US-only radio-airplay single. The album's first and last singles charted within the top twenty on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, and they peaked at number one and within the top ten in several markets worldwide; "Cry" was less commercially successful. Following a conflict between Jackson and his record label, Sony Music stopped promoting the album. The album was the recipient of one Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance - Male, as well as being voted, by readers of Billboard magazine, the best album of the decade.
The album peaked at number one in eleven territories worldwide, including the United States (with sales of 363,000 units its first week), the United Kingdom, Australia, France and Switzerland. Invincible charted within the top ten in six other territories; its least successful charting area was Mexico, where the album peaked at number twenty nine. Invincible re-entered music charts several times during the decade. Despite selling 13 million copies worldwide, the album has been viewed as a commercial failure compared to Jackson's previous albums sales.
BackgroundDuring Jackson's time as a member of The Jackson 5, he frequently wrote material for the group and began working on projects as a solo artist, which eventually led to recording his own studio albums, notably Off The Wall (1979) and Thriller (1982). The success of Thriller, which still holds its place as the best selling album of all time with a reported 110 million units sold, often over shadowed Jackson's other projects. Prior to the release of Invincible, Jackson had not released any new material since Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix in 1997, or a studio album since HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I in 1995. Invincible was thus looked at as Jackson's 'career come back'.
Invincible is dedicated to the fifteen year old Afro-Norwegian boy Benjamin "Benny" Hermansen who was stabbed to death by a group of neo-Nazis in Oslo, Norway, in January 2001. The reason for this tribute was partly due to the fact that another Oslo youth, Omer Bhatti, Jackson's friend, was also a good friend of Hermansen. The dedication in the album reads, "Michael Jackson gives 'special thanks': This album is dedicated to Benjamin 'Benny' Hermansen. May we continue to remember not to judge man by the color of his skin, but the content of his Character. Benjamin ... we love you ... may you rest in peace." The album is also dedicated to Jackson's grandmother Nicholette Sottile and his parents Joseph and Katherine Jackson.
 ProductionJackson began recording new material for the album in October 1997, and finished with the album's recordings with "You Are My Life" being recorded only eight weeks before the album's release in August 2001. The tracks with Rodney Jerkins were recorded at The Hit Factory in Miami, Florida. Jackson had shown interest in including a rapper on at least one song, and had noted that he did not want a 'known rapper'. Jackson's spokesperson suggested New Jersey rapper named Fats; after Jackson heard the finished product of the song, the two agreed to recorded another song together for the album. Rodney Jerkins stated that Jackson was looking to record material in a different musical direction than his previous work, describing the new direction as "edgier". Jackson received credit for both writing and producing a majority of the songs on Invincible. Aside from Jackson, the album features productions by Jerkins, Teddy Riley, Andre Harris, Andraeo "Fanatic" Heard, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, R. Kelly and Dr. Freeze and writing credits from Kelly, Fred Jerkins III, LaShawn Daniels, Nora Payne and Robert Smith. The album is the third collaboration between Jackson and Riley, the other two being Dangerous and Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix. Invincible is Jackson's tenth and final studio album to have been recorded and released. It was reported that it cost thirty million dollars to make the album.
CompositionInvincible is composed of R&B, hip hop, dance-pop, adult contemporary and urban songs. Fourteen out of the album's sixteen tracks were written by Jackson. The album's full length is seventy-seven minutes eight seconds, and it contains 16 songs. It was noted that the album shifts between aggressive songs and ballads. Invincible opens with "Unbreakable"; the last line in the first verse recites the lyrics, "With all that I've been through/I'm still around". In a 2002 interview with the magazine Vibe, Jackson commented on his inspiration for writing "Speechless", saying
"Privacy", a reflection on Jackson's own personal experiences, is about media invasions and tabloid inaccuracies. "The Lost Children" is about imperiled children. Jackson sings in a third person in "Whatever Happens". The song's lyrics, described as having a "jagged intensity", narrate the story of two people involved in an unnamed threatening situation. Invincible features four ballads: "You Are My Life", "Butterflies", "Don't Walk Away" and "Cry". "Cry", similar to Jackson's "Man in the Mirror", is about healing the world together. The lyrics to "Butterflies" and "Break of Dawn" were viewed as "glaringly" and being able to "emanate" to listeners. "Threatened" was viewed as being a story teller. The song was viewed as a "Thriller redux". The song "You Are My Life" is about Jackson's two children at the time, Prince and Paris. The song features Jackson singing, "You are the sun, you make me shine, more like the stars."You'll be surprised. I was with these kids in Germany, and we had a big water-balloon fight - I'm serious - and I was so happy after the fight that I ran upstairs in their house and wrote "Speechless". Fun inspires me. I hate to say that, because it's such a romantic song. But it was the fight that did it. I was happy, and I wrote it in it's [sic] entirety right there. I felt it would be good enough for the album. Out of the bliss comes magic, wonderment, and creativity.
"Ekam Satyam", a track composed by Indian musician A. R. Rahman, was supposed to be included in the album. The song, written by Rahman along with Kanika Myer was performed by Jackson. Also considered to be released as a single, it was never released.
Sony Music contract issuesJackson was waiting for licenses to the masters of his albums to revert back to him, thus allowing him to promote his old material and preventing Sony from getting a cut of the profit. Jackson expected this to occur early in the new millennium, however, due to the fine print and various clauses in the contract, the revert date is still many years away. Jackson began an investigation, and it emerged that the attorney who represented the singer in the deal was also representing Sony, creating a conflict of interest. Jackson was also concerned about another conflict of interest. For a number of years, Sony had been negotiating to buy Jackson's music catalog. If Jackson's career or financial situation were to deteriorate, it would be in Jackson's financial interest to sell his catalog. Thus, Sony had something to gain from Jackson's career failing. Jackson was able to use these conflicts as leverage to exit his contract early.
Just before the release of Invincible, Jackson informed the head of Sony Music Entertainment, Tommy Mottola he was leaving the record label. As a result, all singles releases, video shootings and promotions concerning the Invincible album were cancelled. Jackson made allegations in July 2002 that Mottola was a "devil" and a "racist" who did not support his African-American artists, using them merely for his own personal gain. He charged that Mottola had called his colleague Irv Gotti a "fat black nigger". Sony disputed claims that they had failed to promote Invincible with sufficient energy, maintaining that Jackson refused to tour in the United States. The singer accused Sony and the record industry of racism, deliberately not promoting or actively working against promotion of his album.
Promotion and singlesIt was reported that the album had a budget of twenty five million dollars set aside for promotion. To help promote the album, a special 30th Anniversary celebration at Madison Square Garden occurred in September 2001 to mark the Jackson's 30th year as a solo artist. The singer performed songs from Invincible and marked his first appearance onstage alongside his brothers for the first time since The Jacksons' Victory Tour in 1984. The show also featured performances by Britney Spears, Mýa, Usher, Whitney Houston, Tamia, 'N Sync, and Slash, among other artists. The show aired on CBS in November 2001, as a two-hour television special.
The album spawned three singles, "You Rock My World", "Cry" and "Butterflies". "Cry" was released outside the United States. "Butterflies" did not have a music video. "You Rock My World" was released in late October 2001. The albums lead single. "You Rock My World" peaked within the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart, and at number ten in its third week of release. The song was more successful internationally, mainly charting within the top five and charted within the top ten in twelve territories. "You Rock My World" peaked at number one France, and number two in Norway, Finland, Denmark, Belgium as well as number three in Italy, number four in Australia, and five in Sweden and Switzerland.
The album's third single, "Butterflies", was released in early January 2002. It peaked within the top twenty at number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number two for five weeks on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart. Internationally, "Cry" mainly charted within the top forty; the song's most successful territories were Denmark, France and Belgium, charting at number sixteen, thirty and thirty one. "Heaven Can Wait" also charted at the bottom of the R&B/Hip-Hop Charts, at number seventy two due to radio airplay without an official release; the song did not chart internationally. "Unbreakable" was supposed to be released as the albums fourth single, but was cancelled for unspecified reasons.[2
Critical and public reception
good material it was "not enough to make Invincible the comeback Jackson needed - he really would have had to have an album that sounded free instead of constrained for that to work - but it does offer a reminder that he can really craft good pop." James Hunter, a writer for Rolling Stone, gave Invincible three out of five stars noted that the album's later ballads made the record too long. Hunter also commented that Jackson and Riley made Invincible "something really handsome and smart", allowing listeners "to concentrate on the track's momentous rhythms" such as "Santana's passionate interjections and Lubbock's wonderfully arranged symphonic sweeps".
Mark Beaumont, a writer for NME, gave the record six out of ten, stating, "Invincible is a relevant and rejuvenated comeback album made overlong". Reviewer Robert Christgau gave the album an "A-", commenting Jackson's skills as a musician are often forgotten, but noting that the album seemed too long compared to other Jackson albums. While Christgau felt some material was "offensive", he described the albums first three tracks as being the "Rodney Jerkins of the year" adding that he did not "believe the [album's] hype matters". David Browne, a writer for Entertainment Weekly, rated the album a "C-" commenting that Invincible is Jackson's "first album since Off the Wall that offers virtually no new twists" but remarked that the album "feels like an anthology of his less-than-greatest hits". In a retrospective 2004 review, Jon Pareles for Rolling Stone gave Invincible one out of five stars, writing "Only allowing himself one anti-tabloid song, he tried to play the gentle, adoring lover and concentrated on ballads. But three decades after he had first charmed the world, his old suavity was gone, and all that was left was grim calculation".
Shortly after the release of the album, in a poll conducted by Billboard magazine, "an overwhelming majority" of people - 79% of 5,195 voters - were not surprised by Invincible entering the Billboard 200 at number one. Billboard also reported that 44% agreed with the statement, proclaiming that Jackson was "still the King of Pop". Another 35% said they were not surprised by the album's ranking, but doubted Invincible would hold on for a second week at the top of the chart. Only 12% of people who responded to the poll said they were surprised by the album's charting debut because of Jackson's career over past six years and another 9% were taken aback by the album's success, due to light of the negativity that preceded the album's release. Invincible received one Grammy Award nomination at the 2002 ceremony. The album's song "You Rock My World" was nominated for "Best Pop Vocal Performance - Male", but lost to James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight". Due to the album's release in October 2001, it was not eligible for any other nomination from the 2002 Grammy Awards. In December 2009, readers of Billboard magazine voted Invincible as the best album of the decade, from their readers poll.[35
 Commercial performanceInvincible was Jackson's first studio album to be released in four years, since Blood on the Dance Floor in 1997. In the album's first week of release, with the sales of 363,000 units, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 on the charts issue date of November 17, 2001. Invincible was Jackson's fifth number one entry on the Billboard 200, and the fourth to chart at number one in its debut week as a solo artist. Despite the first week sales of Invincible being good, the album sold less than HIStory in its opening week, with the album having sold 391,000 units. Invincible also charted at number one on Billboards R&B/Hip Hop Albums Chart for four weeks. After eight weeks of release, in December 2001, Invincible was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the sales of five hundred thousand units. In the same month the album was certified platinum for the sale of one million units. On January 25, 2002, the album was certified two times platinum for the sales of two million units.
Internationally, Invincible was a commercial success. The album peaked at number one in twelve countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. It also charted within the top ten in several countries, including Austria, Canada, Finland, Italy, New Zealand, and Norway. Mexico was the album's least successful charting territory, peaking within the top thirty at number twenty nine. The album has reportedly sold 13 million units worldwide. However, the sales for Invincible were notably low compared to his previous releases, due in part to a diminishing pop music industry, the lack of promotion, no supporting world tour and the label dispute. Commenting on the sales of Invincible back in late 2003, Bernard Zuel of The Sydney Morning Herald stated:
"Holly Valance or Delta Goodrem would think their Christmases had come at once if they sold five or six million copies of their albums worldwide. Michael Jackson did something similar in the past two years with his seventh solo album, Invincible, and he's been branded a failure in the industry and the media. Unfair? Yes, of course, because his Invincible figures are better than those for 95 per cent of the thousands of artists released each year and would provide a healthy retirement fund for anyone. What's more, that failure tag is consistently applied by comparisons with his 1982 album, Thriller, which has sold about 100 million copies and its follow-ups, Bad, that sold about 30 million copies. However, selling 10 million copies is still phenomenal compared to the album sales of most artists."In 2004, Invincible re-entered Billboard charts. Invincible placed at 154 on the Billboard 200 on December 4, 2004. The album also peaked at number forty eight on the Billboards R&B/Hip Hop Albums Chart on the charts issue date of December 4. Following Jackson's death in June 2009, his music experienced a surge in popularity. Invincible charted at number twelve on Billboards Digital Albums Chart on July 11, 2009. Having not charted on the chart prior to its peak position, the album was listed as the ninth biggest jump on that chart that week. It also charted within the top ten, peaking at number nine, on Billboard's Catalog Albums Chart on the issue date of July 18. On the week of July 19, 2009, Invincible charted at number eighteen in Italy. Invincible peaked at number sixty four on the European Albums Chart on the charts issue date of July 25. The album also charted at number twenty nine in Mexico in July, and eighty four on the Swiss Albums Chart on July 19, 2009.
Internationally, the album has received multiple certifications. Invincible was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry, for the sales of over 300,000 units in the United Kingdom. The album was certified platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for the sales of 40,000 units in Switzerland. The IFPI also certified the album gold in Austria for the sales of 15,000 units. Australian Recording Industry Association certified Invincible two times platinum for the sales of 140,000 units in Australia. Other certifications include, a gold certification from Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers for the sales of 20,000 units in Argentina.[53