Most pop songs come in at under four minutes running time, no questions asked. They're fast, to the point and make you get up and dance. So it's a surprise to find the self-styled 'King Of Pop', Michael Jackson, producing a record of 16 tracks, with only one under four minutes.
Usually over-long albums are an indicator that, rather than being full of material, the artist is actually filling out whatever flimsy stuff they've managed to cobble together. And there's no change here. The most expensive album ever made - costing more than US$20 million (HK$156 million) - Invincible is severely lacking in tunes and swamped in production.
Clearly, what with all the bad publicity, Jackson has had little time to think of decent songs in the 10 years since Dangerous (1991). Instead, he has buried his head in Neverland and come up with a series of empty platitudes. The best of these are the recent single You Rock My World, and the opener Unbreakable (which stars a posthumous Notorious B.I.G.). Carlos Santana also puts in an appearance on the Latin funk number Whatever Happens to make it passable, but after that the album is a struggle. Worse still, there are offensive tracks. The most disturbing being The Lost Children, for all those lost and frightened kiddies out there - which in the light of events over the past five years sends a shiver down the spine.
The one thing that remains of Jackson, who did create one of the great pop albums in Thriller, is his voice, which still sounds strong, albeit in a 1980s kind of way. But it's hard to believe anyone takes this ridiculous man seriously anymore. His time has passed and he's the only one who seems not to know it.