139: Invincible 20 Roundtable

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Released in 2001, Invincible was the seventh adult, solo studio album from Michael Jackson. Having released HIStory and Blood on the Dance Floor in uncharacteristically quick succession, Jackson had then largely retreated from the limelight for four years, appearing only at a handful of awards ceremonies and benefit concerts between 1998 and 2001.
Anticipation in the fan community was high. Appearing at the World Music Awards in 2000, to be honoured for his unparalleled success in the music industry, Jackson had teased in his acceptance speech: “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” But whether the eventual album lived up to Jackson’s hype has split fans for the past two decades.
Invincible would be released in 2001 to a lukewarm critical reception, with many reviewers saying the man dubbed the King of Pop for his trendsetting career was now reduced to following trends instead, bringing in younger artists and lending his vocals to their work. With just two entirely self-penned songs on the 16-track album, Jackson seemed to be something of a passenger on his own album.
With his physical appearance attracting more interest than his art, and coverage of the album’s release unfortunately coinciding with the biggest news event of the century – the 9/11 terror attacks – the album charted well upon release but quickly sank, receiving little promotion from either Jackson or his record label.
By summer 2002, artist and label were locked in a vicious battle, with Jackson accusing Sony of sabotaging the project as part of a racist conspiracy, and the label countering that Jackson’s career had been killed by allegations of child molestation.
So what is Invincible’s true place in Jackson’s legacy? Did it deserve the critical pasting it received? Have the songs aged well? Would they have fared better if they had been released at a different time? In what is bound to be one of the most controversial episodes in this podcast’s history, our panellists (Jamon Bull, Shawn Shackelford, James Alay, John Cameron and Charles Thomson) ask and answer these questions, and many more.
This episode was edited by Jamon Bull.
Participants
Jamon Bull
Shawn Shackelford
James Alay
John Cameron
Charles Thomson
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