Coming from a man who once stood on stage at a music awards ceremony and took on a persona of some modern day Christ figure, his choice of title, Invincible, comes as no surprise. And, in the eyes of thousands of die-hard Michael Jackson fans, the name is no doubt very fitting. But, for the rest of us; those who choose to view Mr Jackson through specs of a slightly paler shade of pink, the answer may not be so irrefutable.
Invincible is Michael Jackson's first studio album for six years. It's been a long time in the making and, according to the bigwigs at Sony, it contains some of the man's finest work to date well it would do wouldn't it. Also, according to them, the sixteen songs here display his growth as an artist and a new direction. But, listening to the album, it wouldn't seem he's grown that much. The same, age-old, eeks and whoops that have followed him around for most of his career, remain prominent. The feel of all the tracks is the feel we've come to know him for. No drum and bass angles, no jazz interludes, no house beats, simply pure, unadulterated Michael Jackson pop.
The general gist of things is two-fold. On one hand there are the down-tempo heart-warmers such as Break Of Dawn and on the other hand the more pop/dance up-tempo tracks such as the headliner Invincible. For the Jackson cynics, the likes of Speechless and You Are in My Life are likely to get those skin cells crawling. It's that familiar blend of sickly sweet, Walt Disney style pop that made Ben such a hit. But moving swiftly on from that, once Michael actually manages to give up on all the whooping-eeking nonsense and actually lets his tonsils do some proper talking it all becomes apparent that it is no mistake or matter of luck that he is where he is today. Vocally, Butterflies sees him covering more ground than Michael Owen at Wembley - on a good day.
The production is faultless and the catchy choruses are all there well we've all heard the current single You Rock My World. And he does a brilliant job with the smooth r&b vibe of Heaven Can Wait.
So with his sixth album he still remains king of his castle, all be it a limited one. Let's face it, with contemporaries such as Boyzone and Atomic Kitten the competition isn't exactly what you'd call stiff.