Today, Tuesday, February 28, 2023, marks the 19-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s album, Thriller, winning eight Grammy Awards. The star’s sixth album has become his best-known record, and is still the best-selling album of all time, shifting more than 70 million units worldwide. But the King of Pop himself preferred a later album over Thriller.
Thriller hit store shelves in 1982, but Jackson believed his magnum opus came just under 20 years later in 2001 on October 30, 2001. Jackson released his tenth and final studio album: Invincible. This was the record that brought his musical career to an end, as eight years later, on June 25, 2009, Jackson died aged 50.
Invincible was divisive. Rolling Stone and Q gave it meagre three-star reviews. But, despite this, it hit number one in 14 countries and sold more than 360,000 units in one week.
Jackson later admitted that, despite the lukewarm reception Invincible received, he believed it was his best work.
He said: “It is tough because you’re competing against yourself. Invincible is just as good or better than Thriller, in my true, humble opinion.”
Despite how much Jackson loved the music on Invincible, the record’s singles simply did not perform as well as those from Thriller. Jackson released Billie Jean, Beat It and Thriller as singles from the record, all of which reached number one for multiple weeks at a time. And these were just three of the seven singles released from the album.
In comparison, Jackson released two singles from Invincible, You Rock My World (which hit number ten in the singles chart) and Butterflies (which hit number 14).
However meagre Invincible’s success was, Jackson spoke candidly about how much he loved the writing process for the album.
Jackson said: “I let the music create itself. I like it to be a potpourri of all kinds of sounds, all kinds of colours, something for everybody, from the farmer in Ireland to the lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem.”
In 2002 he added that he wrote one song after having a water-balloon fight with some German children while recording.
“I was so happy after the fight that I ran upstairs in their house and wrote Speechless,” he said. “Fun inspires me. I hate to say that because it’s such a romantic song. But it was the fight that did it. I was happy, and I wrote it in its entirety right there. I felt it would be good enough for the album. Out of the bliss comes magic, wonderment, and creativity.”