Ten years on from ‘Dangerous’ and the tabloid vultures are circling over the skeletal remains of ape-loving, oxygen-tank-residing, legally-not-a-paedophile, recovering black man and Lionel Blair of squeakpop Michael ‘Actually Quite Scary Now’ Jackson. His ace ‘You Rock My World’ comeback stiffed at a disastrous Number Two, and all his hot young credibility tickets have deserted his charity single like rats deserting a sinking bone structure.
Which is brilliant, obviously. We need our pop stars to be walking car crashes: delusional and insane ego tornados (Jackson must be the only man on earth who thinks he looks like the cover ‘photo’) making records like ‘Invincible’ (because [I]you are[/I], Michael, yes [I]you are[/I]). It’s pompous, desperate, laughably self-reverential, two hours too long and dusted sparingly with genius.
Make no mistake, a good half of ‘Invincible’ rocks bells. ‘Speechless’ is a [I]Grease[/I] finale gut-wallop of a ballad with a choir of heavenly Michaels hovering on high. ‘2000 Watts’, ‘Heartbreaker’ and the title track adroitly meld hiphop, Britney and Eminemin the way that an aging pop icon still wanting to appeal to teenagers should. Plus the intro to disco classic ‘You Rock My World’ – in which Jacko pointedly informs Chris Tucker that he likes sex with girls and intends to have some right now, just you watch – is funnier than Chris Evans on fire.
But at 76 minutes and 16 tracks the studio clearly never rang with the dreaded words “no, Michael”. There’s about five too many bollocks R Kellyish soul ballads featuring ‘drumming’ that resembles someone slapping a wet ferret with a stick and the record predictably slides into blubbing-billionaire sentimentality halfway through. Mikey starts banging creepily on about [I]”saving the children”[/I] on ‘Cry’ and ‘The Lost Children’, but most galling of all is ‘Privacy’ in which Jackson demands that we [I]”unblock my privacy”[/I] and [I]”stop maliciously attacking my integrity”[/I]. Alright then, Whacksie, here’s the deal. You stop floating twenty foot statues of yourself down rivers, having your tackle discussed in court, organising ludicrous tribute concerts to yourself, having race-changes and spending billions of dollars violently ramming your image as a superhuman pop masterbeing down our throats, right, and we’ll stop taking any notice of you. Fucking freak.
Not that we’d have him any other way. ‘Invincible’ is a relevant and rejuvenated comeback album make overlong and embarassing by the unavoidable fact that Michael Jackson is a) exceedingly rich and b) a bit of a wanker. Nonetheless, you hope he keeps making records because you want to see him trying to moonwalk when he’s just a spinal column in a fedora. After all, when the gold-plated limousine starts skidding, you want to see it crash don’t you?