Michael Jackson: Unlistenable

Author’s note: I’m guessing this review of Michael Jackson : Invincible came out in 2002 as part of my freelance gig with either the Taiwan News or the China Post. Figured it was worth reposing in light of the Leaving Neverland and the recent global reaction to the realization that Jackson had sex with kids, as if this wasn’t something everybody knew in 2002 when I wrote this review and alluded to his pedophilia. Anyway, Hsimending is now spelled Ximending, Tower Records is long closed down (I think it was pretty close to where Red House was and still is), and Catwalk is alive and well (and hopefully will be doing the English – Chinese translation of Formosa Moon in the near future if we can find a local publisher).

Michael Jackson : Unlistenable

Sometimes too much education can be a detriment; in describing just how truly mediocre Michael Jackson’s new album (which should have been called Unlistenable), my degree in creative writing didn’t allow me to come up with a more succinct description my favorite clerk at the Hsimending Tower Records was able to produce off the top of his head. Despite being neither a writer nor a native English speaker, Catwalk summed the album up in two sentences:

“Some performers can suck in a grand way. On Invincible, Michael Jackson just sounds expensively ordinary”

~ Catwalk

Not since my ex-girlfriend wrote off Kevin Costner’s three-hour long post apocalyptic epic The Postman with the phrase “too long and sucky” have I felt so utterly inadequate in the face of Taiwanese linguistic precision.

My readers, knowing me to be a reviewer with certain musical leanings, might be tempted to believe that I did not actually listen to the album. Were that only true. In fact, I listened to the whole thing. The fact that I did so with a corkscrew jammed up my urethra in the hopes that physical pain might lessen my mental torment constitutes no shirking of duty on my part.

I was especially glad for the distraction provided by the corkscrew while listening to the track entitled “Break of Dawn”.  MJ’s sexual predilections (if we can call them that) are well known; thus, hearing him warble on about “making love ’till the break of dawn” over sampled tweety-bird noises conjured up extremely unpleasant images of Jocko engaged in unnatural acts with Sesame Street’s Big Bird.   Another track requiring a good stiff twist of the corkscrew was “The Lost Children,” which went down like a saccharine enema.

In conclusion, while the rest of the world seems to be getting wise to Jocko’s lack of talent, some people in Taiwan are still buying his records. This must stop. Even the creator of the Michael Jackson Internet Fan Club has taken his fan site down in shame. If this review prevents one innocent Taiwanese from buying this album, my suffering shall not have been in vain.