Michael Jackson is probably walking around his Neverland Valley Ranch right now singing the praises of his sports world equivalent: Michael Jordan. Imagine it, Jackson, smiling, has his 1993 retro Jordan sneakers and #23 Washington Wizards jersey. Jordan’s keen game play has been loosening the world up for comebacks, especially by individuals with the initials M.J.
And as his sports world equivalent shines on the court, Jacko is certainly betting that his album is going to be a slam dunk as well. Although Jackson does complain about the press covering his every movement on Invincible – finally unveiled to the public online on Friday (October 26) and due in stores October 30 – he has bigger fish to fry. He has to put his acceptance into Heaven on hold to be with his baby, shake a love jones he has for a heartbreaker with big thighs and stop the sun from coming up so he can make love through the night.
As Rodney Jerkins, one of the album’s producers, has been saying, the track “Break of Dawn” resurrects memories of “the old Mike.” Complete with birds chirping in the background, “Break of Dawn” is reminiscent of Thriller’s “Lady in My Life,” as Jackson gets frisky with his lover. “I don’t want the sun to shine, I wanna make looooove,” he sings on the chorus.
“Hold my hand/ Feel the touch of your body cling to mine,” he gently commands amidst Jerkins’ mid-tempo track before getting a little more fiery. “Girl you got to understaaaaand, this is the way that I love you/ Let me show you I’m your man.”
“Tell the angels no, I don’t want to leave my baby alone,” he croons on another even-paced ditty, “Heaven Can Wait.” “I don’t want nobody else to hold you/ That’s the chance I’ll take.”
Coming with a more up-to-date sound, Jackson sings over funky, dirty South bounce beats on “Heartbreaker,” telling about a girl who dissed him.
Although his vocals are every bit as crisp as a Michael Jordan fade-away jump shot on Invincible, Jackson seems a little more comfortable taking it back to the old school. On “Break of Dawn,” Jackson’s soft voice is caressing before he lets out his passionate emotions, literally promising to move Heaven and Hell to be with his soul mate. “I can’t be without my babaaay,” he ardently pleads during his ad-libs on the last chorus. “I love you girl. I need you babaaay. I want you babaaay. No!”
Brimming with rough piano key strikes, “Unbreakable” finds Jackson professing that no one can touch him. “I’m just wondering why you think/ That you can get to me?” he confidently quips. “All that I’ve been through, I’m still around/ Why can’t you see that you’d never ever hurt me?”
Meanwhile, the Notorious B.I.G. continues to bang from the grave with some familiar guest vocals: “A lime to a lemon my DC women bringing ten G minimums to condos with elevators in ’em/ Vehicles with televisions in ’em/ Watch they entourage turn yours to just mirages.” Biggie, who also rhymed on Jackson’s 1995 HIStory LP, originally used those lyrics on Shaquille O’Neal’s 1996 cut “You Still Can’t Stop the Reign.”
Jackson once again lashes back at those he finds most repugnant on “Privacy.” Singing in more of a slow conversational manner, Jackson’s voice slithers over the soundscape of camera snapshots and flashes and methodical rock guitars. M.J. tells the paparazzi to get away from him and stop slandering his name.
“Why do you go through so much/ To get the stories you need,” he angrily asks. “You got the people confused.”
On the pop ballad “Speechless,” Jackson starts off a cappella, singing, “Your love is magical, that’s how I feel/ But I have not the words yet to explain.”
The complete album was made available at michaeljackson.com for a 24-hour period on Friday. It will hit brick and mortar outlets on Tuesday.