30th October marks the 15th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s tenth and last studio album, Invincible, a 16-track comeback which resurged the King’s presence in charts all over the world after 6 years, peaking at number one in eleven countries.
The album came out after a period of intense conflict for Jackson, who had been the target of scandals and harmful gossip, suggestively tackling themes such as isolation, social issues, or the abusive nature of media criticism, and intertwining them with the artist’s well-known inclination towards love.
Just as Jackson himself at the time, Invincible was quite controversial, mainly because of its extreme cost of production of $30 million which advertised it as the most expensive ever made. A contributing factor to the sum was represented by the extensive recording period of over 4 years in 3 different studios. It all resulted in more than 50 fresh tracks, from which only 16 were chosen for the album. This prolonged process might be explained by the huge amount of pressure Jackson was under; he had to produce a record which was to bring him back in the public eye and reinstate his reputation as musical royalty, rightfully gained in the ‘80s.
Invincible was met with mixed reviews, taking a slightly ‘edgy’ musical direction and combining aggressive, fast-paced tracks with sentimental ballads in a different manner. However, the album showed the whole world that Jackson was still perfectly capable of producing good music, that he was Invincible. Tracks such as ‘Whatever Happens’ (a wonderful collaboration with the stellar guitarist Carlos Santana), ‘You Rock My World’ (the main single which had a familiar sound) or ‘Speechless’ have remained with Michael’s fans as samples of his greatness, and being added to the star-studded contribution he brought to music.
As he was going through a rough period in his personal life, Michael Jackson needed to prove his strength as an artist, his essence, after all. Consequently, he worked thoroughly for what was to be his last studio album.
Listen to the first single, ‘You Rock My World’, below: