Pop king's new album average

Grade B-

Mixing pop, rap, hip hop and club music, Michael Jackson emerged from a six-year studio recording hiatus with his newest release "Invincible" and proved to the world he is ready to take on the music industry in the 21st century.

Michael Jackson seems to have come full circle. He is less angry and yet not as innocent as he used to appear, producing an album that, although it will probably not revolutionize the music industry like his "Thriller" album, it will still keep him on the charts and over radio waves.

The 42-year-old performer and target of several scandals and allegations has kept a low profile since his "HIStory" double disk release in 1995. Since then, he divorced wife Lisa Marie Presley and married Debbie Rowe in 1996. Jackson and Rowe had two children and then divorced in 1999.

Jackson emerged once into the limelight since 1995 with a low-key release "Blood on the Dance Floor" in 1997. The album included a few new songs with mostly remixes of previous hits.

Since Jackson typically uses his music as an outlet for frustrations in his personal life, the possibilities for how he would treat fatherhood and divorce in his music were endless.

The words to the songs recorded on "Invincible" could fit the mold of Jackson's divorce. The first track, for example, "Unbreakable," has a slow hip hop beet with the lyrics, "Through all your lies and silly games, I'm-a-still remain the same, I'm unbreakable."

The song lacks the aggression Jackson showed in his "HIStory" album, but it is equally as angry.

Another song on the album, "You Rock My World," is a more relaxed pop song, and Jackson sounds much like he did on his "Dangerous" album from 1991. The anger is subsided, and Jackson's vocal abilities ring well.

The diversity in the musical genre's continues, however, in the song "2000 Watts." The song opens with an almost industrial feel with harsh beats. The harshness of "2000 Watts" is in direct contrast to several slow ballads on the album.

One such ballad Jackson included is a song about children, typical of a Michael Jackson album. Titled "The Lost Children," it is touching and will not disappoint those who expect this type of song from Jackson.

The song that is the most sure-fire hit for Jackson, however, is the ballad "Speechless" placed right in the center of the album as the eighth track. Jackson begins with an a capella introduction, that flaunts his vocal range and is typical of his older recordings. The song escalates, adding more voices and then slowly descends, ending with the same type of a capella Jackson began with.

Overall, this album is a must-buy for any Jackson fan. However, those who are not die-hard Jackson fanatics may want to wait to purchase the individual singles that appeal to them. There is enough diversity in the musical selections to appeal to a broad spectrum of music buyers.


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