Michael Jackson thought Thriller was his second best album
Today, Tuesday, February 28, 2023, marks the 19th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s album, Thriller, which won eight Grammy Awards. The star’s sixth album has become his best-known album and remains the best-selling album of all time, with more than 70 million units sold worldwide. But the King of Pop himself preferred a post-Thriller album.
Thriller hit store shelves in 1982, but Jackson believed his masterpiece came just under 20 years later, in 2001, on October 30, 2001. Jackson released his tenth and final studio album, Invincible. This was the album that ended his musical career, since eight years later, on June 25, 2009, Jackson died at the age of 50.
Invincible was divisive. Rolling Stone and Q gave it scant three-star reviews. But despite this, it reached 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 to be his best work.
He said, “It’s hard because you’re competing against yourself. Invincible is as good as or better than Thriller, in my truly humble opinion.”
As much as Jackson liked the music on Invincible, the singles on the record simply didn’t do as well as the ones on Thriller. Jackson released Billie Jean, Beat It, and Thriller as singles from the record, all of which reached number one for several weeks in a row. And these were just three of the seven singles released from the album.
By comparison, Jackson released two singles from Invincible, You Rock My World (which reached number ten on the singles chart) and Butterflies (which reached number 14).
As lackluster as Invincible’s success was, Jackson spoke candidly about how much he loved the album’s writing process.
Jackson said, “I let the music create itself. I like it to be a potpourri of all kinds of sounds, all kinds of colors, something for everyone from the farmer in Ireland to the lady who scrubs the toilets in Harlem.”
In 2002 he added that he wrote a song after having a water balloon fight with some German children during the recording.
“I was so happy after the fight that I ran upstairs at his house and wrote Speechless,” he said. “Fun inspires me. I hate to say that because it’s a very romantic song. But it was the fight that did it. I was happy and wrote it in its entirety right there. I felt like it would be good enough for the album.” Out of bliss comes magic, wonder and creativity.”
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