Michael Jackson: perché Invincible è un album da rivalutare​ (2023)

Uno dei luoghi comuni più errati, nella critica musicale, è quello di considerare la vena artistica di Michael Jackson (che oggi avrebbe compiuto 63 anni) sostanzialmente esaurita dopo i tre straordinari album realizzati con Quincy Jones: Off The Wall del 1979, Thriller del 1982 e Bad del 1987.

In realtà, negli anni Novanta, Jackson ha inciso più canzoni, pubblicato più album e girato più video che negli anni Ottanta, smentendo il luogo comune del suo declino artistico dopo la fine della collaborazione con Quincy Jones. Dangerous, HIStory e Blood On The Dancefloor non hanno più la melodiosa immediatezza dei suoi lavori precedenti, ma sono, per certi versi, le sue opere più interessanti per il sound avanguardistico e per i testi carichi di rabbia, di inquietudine e di protesta sociale. L'atto finale della sua discografia, lo sfortunato Invincible, pubblicato 20 anni fa (il 30 ottobre del 2001), con una promozione diversa, con una maggiore coerenza sonora e con una lunghezza minore sarebbe stato probabilmente un grande successo, potendo contare su alcune canzoni straordinarie che avrebbe meritato di essere lanciate da video all'altezza di quelli girati negli anni Ottanta e nei primi anni Novanta.

Previsto originariamente per il 1999, ma pubblicato solo nell'autunno del 2001 (poco dopo la tragedia delle Torri Gemelle, non certo un periodo favorevole per la discografia), il decimo e ultimo album della straordinaria carriera del Re del Pop ha il difetto di essere troppo lungo (77 minuti complessivi), disomogeneo e con alcuni brani superflui nella parte finale. Ciò non pregiudica, però, il suo alto valore complessivo, con alcune canzoni memorabili, per musica e per testo, che meritano di essere riscoperti e ascoltati oggi con la necessaria attenzione. Jackson, a proposito dell'album, aveva dichiarato: «Secondo la mia modesta opinione, Invincible è bello tanto quanto Thriller, se non di più. Ha più da offrire». L'artista di Gary iniziò a registrare il nuovo materiale nell'ottobre del 1997, completando l'ultimo brano, You Are My Life, solo due mesi prima dell'uscita dell'album, nell'ottobre 2001. L'album è dedicato a Benjamin Hermansen, un ragazzo quindicenne di origini africane, pugnalato da un gruppo di neonazisti ad Oslo e ritrovato morto nel gennaio del 2001. Per un periodo di tempo limitato, vennero realizzate quattro copertine diverse del CD, oltre all'originale bianca, di colore rosso, blu, verde e arancione, molto apprezzate dai collezionisti.

Rispetto alla rabbia degli album degli anni Novanta, Dangerous, HIStory e Blood On The Dancefloor, in Invincible si respira un'aria più serena, merito della nascita dei primi due figli, anche se non mancano alcuni brani inquieti e di contenuto sociale. L'inizio del disco, in perfetto stile Jackson, è travolgente, con tre brani tutti da ballare. Unbreakable, che Michael avrebbe voluto saggiamente utilizzare come singolo di lancio, è un brano urban fresco e moderno basato su un ostinato riff di pianoforte, con un testo che è quasi una dichiarazione programmatica: «Puoi provare a bloccarmi, ma non servirà a niente/ Puoi fare quel che vuoi, ma sarò sempre qui/ Nonostante tutte le tue menzogne e i tuoi stupidi giochi/ Sono ancora qui e sono sempre me stesso, sono indistruttibile». Il finale viene valorizzato da un lungo rap di Notorious B.I.G, morto quattro anni prima dell'uscita del disco, che aveva precedentemente inciso quelle barre in You Can't Stop the Reign di Shaquille O'Neal.

La futuristica Heartbreaker, con un rap di Fats, aveva sonorità assai in voga all'inizio degli anni Duemila, basate su un loop digitale di chitarra acustica. La title-track, con un coinvolgente ritmo hip hop e un breve intervento rap di Fats, racconta la storia di una ragazza "invincibile" perché non si lascia conquistare, nonostante tutte le attenzioni del suo spasimante. Break Of Dawn, ballad r&b suadente e lasciva, è una delle gemme nascoste di Invincible, che conferma ancora una volta la genialità compositiva di Jackson, qui coadiuvato da Dr.Freeze. Meno riuscita Heaven Can't Wait, monotona ballad r&b che poteva anche essere scartata dalla tracklist finale. You Rock My Word, primo brano di Invincible ad essere accompagnato da un video, è una canzone tipicamente jacksoniana, con un grande giro di basso, archi ariosi e un beat irresistibile, perfetto per accendere le piste da ballo. Il videoclip, diretto da Paul Hunter (con la partecipazione straordinaria di Chris Tucker e di Marlon Brando), era piacevole e coinvolgente, soprattutto nelle splendide coreografie, ma non aveva la grandiosità alla quale ci aveva abituato Jackson.

Impossibile non sentire le farfalle nello stomaco con la splendida Butterflies, altro vertice artistico di Invincible, composta originariamente da Andre Harris e da Marsha Ambrosius per il duo neo soul delle Floetry. La magistrale interpretazione di Jackson, con un falsetto da brividi, conferma ancora una volta sulla sua testa la corona di Re del Pop. Scettro meritato anche per la successiva Speechless, ballad vibrante, commovente, ricca di sentimento e perfetta per essere dedicata alla persona amata. 2.000 Watts è un brano sperimentale, che ha sempre diviso in due il pubblico per l'audacia dei suoni creati da Teddy Riley e per la singolare voce baritonale del cantante, assai diversa dal solito, tanto che alcuni ne hanno messo in dubbio l'autenticità. Un brano che, ascoltato a forte volume con un impianto adeguato, regala comunque le sue soddisfazioni. You Are My Life è una tenera ballad dedicata alla nascita dei suoi figli Prince e Paris, anche se poco originale ed eccessivamente zuccherosa. La canzone, composta a sei mani con Babyface e Carol Bayer Sager, ha sostituto all'ultimo momento dalla tracklist Shout, brano decisamente superiore.

Non è certo una novità il cattivo rapporto di Jackson con la stampa scandalistica che, dopo Tabloid Junkie del 1995, torna di nuovo protagonista di una canzone, la corrosiva Privacy. L'incipit del brano mette subito le carte in tavola: «Le foto non sono abbastanza, perché vi spingete così oltre ?/ Per avere quella storia che vi serve tanto per sotterrarmi/ Confondete le persone, raccontate solo le storie che volete voi/ Cercate di cambiare l'uomo che sono/ Continuate ad inseguirmi, invadendo la mia privacy/ Volete lasciarmi in pace?». Don't Walk Away, Cry e The Lost Children sono tre ballad didascaliche e poco ispirate, non all'altezza del canzoniere del Re del Pop, che difficilmente un Quincy Jones avrebbe lasciato nella tracklist finale dell'album. Michael amava molto The Lost Childen, composta interamente da lui sul tema dei bambini scomparsi, tanto che voleva pubblicarla come singolo, ma la Sony si oppose, sostenendo che il brano fosse troppo debole. Decisamente meglio la latineggiante Wathever Happens, impreziosita dall'inconfondibile chitarra di Santana, che si apre con un fischio morriconiano: è davvero incomprensibile che un brano di questo valore non sia stato scelto come singolo.

Gran finale con il gothic-pop di Threatened, che ricorda i ritmi e le atmosfere inquietanti di Ghosts e Is It Scary e che, nelle prove del tour di This Is It, veniva interpolata con Thriller. L'album si chiude con una sibillina frase di Rod Serling, autore e voce narrante della serie televisiva Ai confini della realtà: «Ciò a cui avete appena assistito potrebbe essere la fine di un incubo particolarmente terrificante. Non lo è. È l'inizio». Invincible, nonostante gli esorbitanti costi di produzione, non ottenne i risultati sperati. Si calcola che abbia venduto, a oggi, circa 13 milioni di copie: un numero sbalorditivo per chiunque, ma non per il Re del Pop, abituato a ben altri risultati. L'album raggiunse il primo posto in 13 Paesi del mondo – tra cui gli Stati Uniti, il Regno Unito, l'Australia, la Francia, la Germania e la Svizzera – nonostante la promozione quasi nulla da parte della Sony, soprattutto se paragonata a quelle imponenti di Dangerous e di HIStory, che prevedevano addirittura statue del cantante alte dieci metri sparse per il globo. I cartonati pubblicitari dell'album rimasero pochi giorni nei negozi, mentre l'unica iniziativa promozionale degna di nota fu un firmacopie al Virgin Megastore di New York, dove Michael autografò centinaia di CD. Chissà quali sarebbero stati i risultati di Invincible, album che, pur con i suoi difetti, aveva un forte potenziale commerciale, se fosse stato supportato adeguatamente dall'etichetta, con quattro o cinque video ad alto budget. Riascoltando oggi un album sorprendente e imperfetto come Invincible, a 20 anni dalla sua uscita, è inevitabile chiedersi quale sarebbe stata la sua successiva svolta stilistica di Jackson: avrebbe proseguito sulla strada di una pop-dance elettronica ancora più spinta e avanguardistica o, forse, avrebbe stupito tutti con un album strumentale di brani di musica classica, al quale stava lavorando poco prima della sua morte? Purtroppo non sapremo mai la risposta, ma Invincible resta comunque un testamento artistico con alcuni picchi di assoluto valore.

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FAQs

Why Sony did not promote invincible? ›

During the album's release window, Jackson's record label Sony pulled all promotional resources. Their decision was a result of tension between the company and Jackson over the latter's decision to exit the company due to a conflict of interest regarding the share he held in Sony Music Entertainment.

How many copies did Michael Jackson's Invincible sell? ›

Invincible debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the United States and in ten other countries worldwide. The album was certified double Platinum in January 2002 by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and has sold over 8 million copies worldwide.

How much did invincible sell first week? ›

This is not to discount the album's success or impact. Invincible lived up to its title, proving Jackson was just that, debuting at №1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and moving more than 366,000 units in one week.

What was Michael Jackson last hit? ›

You Are Not Alone” debuted at the peak of the Billboard Hot 100 on September 2, 1995. It became Jackson's first Billboard No. 1 hit since “Black or White” four years earlier and his thirteenth and final overall. After that, singles debuting at No.

How many total albums has Michael Jackson sold? ›

Jackson is one of the best-selling music artists in history with over 400 million records sold worldwide. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Jackson has sold 89 million certified albums in the United States, making him the sixth top-selling album artist in the country.

Who was more popular Michael Jackson or Elvis Presley? ›

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Elvis Presley sold 146.5 million albums, which is 62.5 more than Michael Jackson, who sold 84 million albums.

Who has the most #1 hits? ›

The Beatles have the most No. 1 hits of all time: 20. Though unclear for how long, the Beatles still reign supreme as the artist with the most No. 1 songs of all time.

How many number 1 hits did Michael Jackson have? ›

With 13 No. 1s – and one more to which he contributed vocals – Jackson leads the list of male artists with the most chart-topping hits. His catalog has both legendary breadth and depth, considering Jackson was the first artist to score No.

What's Michael Jackson's most sold song? ›

"Thriller" was released in November 1983 and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. The single sold 10 million copies in the US alone, making it Jackson's best-selling single.

What is Michael Jackson best-selling album of all time? ›

Michael Jackson's Thriller, estimated to have sold 70 million copies worldwide, is the best-selling album. Jackson also currently has the highest number of albums on the list with five, Celine Dion has four, while the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Madonna and Whitney Houston each have three.

Who sold more records than MJ? ›

Elvis Presley – 146.5 million units. Eagles – 101 million units. Billy Joel – 82.5 million units. Michael Jackson – 81 million units.

What was Michael Jackson net worth? ›

In 2021, the Tax Court issued a ruling in favor of the estate, ruling that the estate's total combined value of the estate was $111.5 million and that the value of Jackson's name and likeness was $4 million (not the $61 million estimated by the IRS's outside expert witness).

What age is Invincible for? ›

What is the Invincible age rating? The official rating on Amazon Prime Video is TV-MA in the United States. In Canada, it's 18+. In the UK and Australia, it's 18.

Why did Michael Jackson stop making albums? ›

The news of his financial problems and the accusations of child molestation weakened his commercial prospects. He also said some things in his lengthy interviews in 2003 through 2004 that did not sit well with the public.

Which song has been number 1 the longest? ›

"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks. It also became the fastest song in history to be certified diamond.

Who took the last picture of Michael Jackson? ›

From National Photo Group. The morning after Jackson's death, Weiss says, he was “happy because we got the picture. I took the last picture of Michael Jackson, ever. Because we had, as much as a photographer could for the last six months of his life, a relationship with Michael.

How much money did Michael Jackson make when he died? ›

Michael Jackson made over $2 billion after his death! The King of Pop is one of the biggest names in the music industry and has stayed the same despite his passing away 13 years ago.

Who sold most records ever? ›

Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.

Who has sold a billion records? ›

Over the course of Elvis' life, he achieved some of the highest accolades in music and film. It is estimated that more than one billion Elvis records have been sold worldwide, more than anyone in record industry history.

Who has more hits than Michael Jackson? ›

Drake also outranks Michael Jackson in terms of most No. 1 albums (10 to MJ's 6), most top 10 singles (54 to MJ's 30), most consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 (431) and most Hot 100 entries, period (258).

Who is the most famous singer in the world? ›

Popularity rankingArtist
01DrakeTrack artist
02RihannaTrack artist
03ColdplayTrack artist
04EminemTrack artist
94 more rows

Who was bigger than Elvis? ›

In terms of numbers, The Beatles have sold 36.5 million more albums in the U.S. than Elvis, yet Elvis sold 25.5 million more singles than The Beatles. Since albums usually contain 10-12 more songs than singles, The Beatles would clearly be the winner in terms of U.S. record sales.

What is the 1 song of all time? ›

Blinding Lights

What is the biggest selling song of all time? ›

According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.

What is the Jackson 5's most famous song? ›

I Want You Back

Did Michael Jackson go diamond? ›

Yet, “Billie Jean” and the “Thriller” single became Diamond-certified records. Thriller, the album, gained its overall Diamond certification back in 1983 and became 34 times multi-platinum in August 2021.

Does Michael Jackson have more hits than the Beatles? ›

Michael Jackson has the best selling album of all time thriller which sold 100 million worldwide and the second best selling Bad which sold 45 million worldwide. In total Michael Jackson has sold over a billion records worldwide the Beatles can't touch him.

What was Michael Jackson's Favourite song he made? ›

He claimed his favorite song was Smile, which was originally written by Charlie Chaplin. He recorded his own version and included it on his HIStory album.

How many songs did Michael Jackson actually write? ›

As a songwriter, he penned more than 150 songs, with more than 20 reaching multi-million performance status on American radio and television.

Who has the highest selling album of 2022? ›

One of those albums, Adele's 25, sold over 1 million in three separate weeks. It was earlier reported (Oct. 22) that Midnights has logged the single-largest sales week for a vinyl album in the modern era (since Luminate began tracking music sales in 1991), and is the top-selling album of 2022.

Which Michael Jackson album has the most number 1 hits? ›

Despite lesser sales, Michael Jackson's 'Bad' achieved a feat that not only did his earlier 'Thriller' not accomplish, but that no album in history ever had before: It spawned five No. 1 hits on the…

Who is bigger Drake or MJ? ›

When comparing numbers, Drake has had ten number-one albums compared to Jackson's six. The “Hotline Bling” singer also has 54 top ten singles compared to Jackson's 40, as well the most entries and consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. That being said, you cannot compare Drake to Jackson.

Who is the biggest band of all time? ›

The Beatles top the chart with a combined singles sales total of 22.1 million singles.

Who is considered the best band of all time? ›

The 10 best rock bands ever
  1. The Beatles. The Beatles are unquestionably the best and most important band in rock history, as well as the most compelling story. ...
  2. The Rolling Stones. ...
  3. U2. ...
  4. The Grateful Dead. ...
  5. Velvet Underground. ...
  6. Led Zeppelin. ...
  7. Ramones. ...
  8. Pink Floyd.
30 Mar 2004

Who is richest singer in the world? ›

Herb Alpert is an American jazz musician, who became famous as the group notoriously known as Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. They're also often referred to as Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass or TJB. Alpert has racked up an impressive net worth of $850 million, making him the richest singer in the world.

What does Michael Jackson still own? ›

In September 2016, Sony acquired the Jackson estate's stake in Sony/ATV in a deal valued at around $750 million. The Jackson estate retained its ownership of Mijac Music, which holds the rights to Michael Jackson's songs and master recordings.

Does Invincible have LGBT? ›

New things are pumped into Invincible to make it as unique as possible.” Among the unique aspects is the inclusion of an LGBTQ character named William (Andrew Rannells), who is also Mark's best friend and, in episode six, gets a provocative story arc.

Are boys OK for kids? ›

Gory, profane, sexy superhero story great, but NOT for kids.

Is Invincible OK for a 12 year old? ›

Invincible is not kid friendly at all; it's touted as an adult animated comic book superhero show. Invincible is rated TV-MA for extreme violence and language.

Is Eminem still owned by Michael Jackson? ›

In 2007, Michael's company Sony/ATV bought the publishing company Famous Music for $370 million. This purchase meant he then owned the rights to all of Eminem's music. Michael continued to own the rapper's music until he died in 2009.

Did Eminem buy his music back from MJ? ›

Three years later, in 2007, Jackson's company Sony/ATV purchased the publishing company Famous Music for US$370 million (~AU$515.8 million), meaning that Michael Jackson actually owned Eminem's entire back catalogue.

Where does Michael Jackson rank all time? ›

Michael Jackson is now the Greatest Solo Selling Artist of All Time!
#ARTISTTOTAL CSPC
1The Beatles415,436,000
2Michael Jackson330,271,000
3Elvis Presley316,475,000
4Queen269,118,000
6 more rows
27 Jun 2021

What is Michael Jackson's most favorite song? ›

Songwriters John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons later adapted part of that score into the song “Smile,” which Jackson often referred to as his favorite song.

What is Michael Jackson's signature song? ›

Jackson's performance of "Billie Jean" on the TV special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever won acclaim and was nominated for an Emmy Award. It introduced a number of Jackson's signatures, including the moonwalk, black sequined jacket, and high-water pants, and was widely imitated.

What was Michael Jackson's first popular song? ›

Got to Be There is the debut solo studio album by American singer Michael Jackson, released by Motown on January 24, 1972, four weeks after the Jackson 5's Greatest Hits (1971). It includes the song of the same name, which was released on October 7, 1971, as Jackson's debut solo single.

What is Michael Jackson's most famous outfit? ›

The sparkly white glove from Jackson's 1983 performance of Billie Jean for the Motown 25 television special, where he performed the Moonwalk, is his signature fashion item.

What is Michael Jackson's favorite snack? ›

Well, he loved fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy but the winner would have to be anything sweet:). Candy, honey, sometimes a chunk of cake , he loved it.

Who was Michael Jackson's biggest crush? ›

Michael Jackson idolized Diana Ross. He thought her the perfect woman. He thought a woman had to look like Diana to be beautiful. She was his mentor at work and a mother figure .

What was Michael Jackson favorite color? ›

Red was his favourite and red and black was his favourite combination. He also liked Blue because it was like the sky.

Why did Jackson tape his fingers? ›

According to the 'Michael Jackson's This Is It' documentary, it turns out the tape served an important on-stage purpose. Michael Bearden, the musical director for the This Is It tour, says Jackson taped the tips of his fingers so everyone in the audience could follow his fingers and understand his dance moves.

What was Michael Jackson's last words before he died? ›

I can't function if I don't sleep. They'll have to cancel it. “And I don't want them to cancel it, but they will have to cancel it.” According to the doctor who was the last person to see the singer before he was rushed to hospital, these were his final words.

Is Michael Jackson the greatest of all time? ›

Referred to as the "King of Pop", he is certified and known as the most awarded and nominated recording artist in the history of popular music. Michael Jackson is considered to be the greatest entertainer of all time and the most influential artist of the 20th century.

What is Michael Jackson's second most famous song? ›

Jackson Earth Song

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