By People Staff
November 12, 2001 12:00 PM

Michael Jackson (Epic)

On this long-awaited album—Michael Jackson’s first all-new studio disc since 1991’s Dangerous—the King of Pop throws down his glittery gauntlet, ready for a fight. The song titles alone read like sound bites from a weigh-in. On the opening track he boasts that he’s “Unbreakable.” Then on the title tune he brags that he’s “Invincible.” Later he warns his competition that they should feel “Threatened.” Relax, Michael, it’s only music, not tae kwon do.

But after the image beating Jackson has taken over the past decade, he knows he needs to bring out the heavy hitting on Invincible. Along for the rhythmic rumble are rappers Fats and the Notorious B.I.G. (in a posthumous cameo) contributing to the disc’s first three tracks, on which Jackson sings in an egregiously angry voice. He finally chills for the album’s best section, including the old-school slow jam “Break of Dawn,” the smooth-grooving single “You Rock My World” and the magical “Butterflies,” which reminds you of how thrilling Michael can be.

He also can make you cringe, though, as he does on the schlocky ballads “Speechless” and “The Lost Children.” And throughout, there is the sense that Jackson, unlike, say, Madonna, hasn’t really altered much since the ’80s. The exception? “2000 Watts,” on which an unrecognizable Jackson sounds as if his voice has finally changed.

Bottom Line: Won’t exactly rock your world