Can Michael Jackson live up to his self-proclaimed title as the King of Pop? That's what fans and the music industry have been asking since Jackson announced the arrival of his latest album, Invincible. Released October 30, the album has been receiving critical reviews. Nevertheless, Invincible debuts at Number One on Billboard Magazine's Hot 200 Albums Chart [week ending 11/17] after first week sales of more than 366,000 CDs in the U.S.A. The set has already premiered at the top of album charts in the U.K., Australia, France, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and six other countries.
Over the past few years, the reclusive Michael Jackson has endured media scrutiny for allegations of improper conduct with a young boy, his two marriages and two divorces. Michael has now emerged with Invincible, his first full-length album of new material in six years. Three years in the making, at an estimated cost of more than $30 million, Invincible could be the most expensive album in history. Production had been veiled in secrecy, and the album's release was delayed several times. Several critics have already commented that Invincible is "tired, unexceptional, removed from reality and unoriginal." The music video for the first single, "You Rock My World," is more like a mini-feature film, with a cameo appearance by legendary actor Marlon Brando. Guest artists on the album include the late rapper Notorious B.I.G., R&B singer Brandy, and Carlos Santana, who adds a flamenco guitar flavor to the tune "Whatever Happens."
Michael Jackson's personal life still makes headlines around the world. He has continued to alter his appearance with cosmetic surgery, and he wears a mask whenever he is in public. During the making of "Invincible," Michael was said to have asked musicians to re-record material hundreds of time until it was perfect. And, on a recent internet web chat with fans, Michael indulged in rambling narratives, and suggested that he and his talent are "gifts from heaven."
The song "Privacy" is Michael's plea to the paparazzi not to indulge in sensationalism when reporting on his life and career.
Last month, Michael Jackson organized "United We Stand What More Can I Give," a benefit concert in Washington, D.C. for victims and families of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. The all-star line up included 'N Sync, The Goo Goo Dolls, Destiny's Child, The Backstreet Boys, O-Town, Train, Usher, P. Diddy, James Brown, Mariah Carey and many others. Michael's performance, however, was edited from the final broadcast. He supposedly didn't want that show to compete with his November 13 TV special, which captured his 30th anniversary concerts that were recorded in New York in September. Michael has also announced that he'll start work on a new film with Broadway star Liza Minelli, called "Capricious Anomaly In The Sea Of Space." November 7, Michael made the first-ever in store appearance of his career at the Virgin Megastore in New York City's Times Square.