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Thread: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

   
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    Default Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    Would like to discuss the MOV version of Invincible and encourage fans to hear it.

    A short little intro

    Like many fans of a certain vintage Invincible was always an album that seemed separate from everything else Michael Jackson did. For a start there were no innovative ground breaking short films, no record breaking world tour, no dazzling TV performances or exciting soft drink sponsorship promos with a series of flashy advertisements that excited the child in me. Even the album cover seemed flat; a graphicy pixelated unremarkable, neither photographed nor painted image. In short, it lacked colour; think of The Jackson’s Victory album sleeve and to a greater extent the tour; all those lights and costumes. Even the singles artwork lacked colour and drew from the album sleeve; black and white pixel images.

    Apart from that, the Sony debacle isn’t even worth discussing. It was only something that added insult to injury and had nothing to do with the music that appeared on the album -or the music that didn’t appear -I will get to that-.

    So it was with much trepidation –am I being dramatic enough?- that I sat down to listen to the MOV (Music on Vinyl) edition of Invincible. After hearing good things about it (Innuendo said it was good) I decided that it was worthy of a shot –and my girlfriend got it for me for Christmas!

    Hearing Invincible for the first time
    let me preface this by saying ‘if you have not heard Invincible on MOV then you haven’t heard Invincible! At least you haven’t heard ALL of Invincible.

    So I took the vinyl out of the sleeve –which looks much better given the dimensions- and put on the player. Slowly put the needle on and waited over a light crackling sound for it to begin.

    These notes are the briefest of brief. Just some scribbles I threw down whilst listening so much of it will be me saying the same thing, constantly delighted by my listening experience.

    Unbreakable

    Everything has an overall warmth –as does the entire album actually- and the individual sounds jump out –like 3D- that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard. The moment it hit me that it sounded better was about 2 minutes in.
    Heartbreaker
    Same as above. The vocals and sounds are all amazing and when the levels are played with and tweaked on the mixing desk it sounds fantastic.
    Invincible
    Invincible sounds like a different song! Again all the individual sounds pop giving more of an isolated 3D effect, and the vocals are glorious -as they are throughout the entire MOV album- and the lines “She’s in-vinca-ble” have a rhythmic quality about them that you simply don’t hear on the CD.
    Break of Dawn
    The warmness in sound lends itself to the dreamlike synths, and the Dr Freeze vocals on the chorus sound truly beautiful. What comes to mind listening to this is that there’s more of an r&b quality within the track –and the complete album- that’s buried and lost in the clunky CD mix. The compression on the CD completely chops off the top and bottom ends of tracks that are as traditionally multi layered in sound and texture as ANY previous MJ album. There is a truly classic r&b vibe/sound/style that shines trough. I’m just going to say it, its f#%king sensational and it’s like I’m hearing this track for the first time, which to a large extent, I am. Side -1 has me sitting with my mouth open in bewilderment “Was that really as good as I imagined??”
    Heaven Can Wait
    2 tracks that had always alluded me were the fan faves ‘Heaven Can Wait and Butterflies –I’ll get to that- and again here, the warmth in sound, the equal opportunity in being able to hear the vocals as crystal clear as the instrumentation brings this track to a higher level. The background vocals from Freeze & Que were something I never noticed or was allowed to hear on the CD. The something-different sound that the Dr Freeze (& Que here) vocals add to this, embellish the track in the same way they do on Break of Dawn and give it that r&b flavour that is so so lost on the horrible CD. The vocals are fantastic and 100 times more audible throughout and I can finally say I kind of like this song –Butterflies even more so-!
    You Rock My World
    The r&b piano sounds great, the backing orchestration blends and the layering is allowed to be as versatile as was intended; here everything allows the dynamics of all the tracks to blend, melt, groove and sizzle in a way that the compression completely destroys on the CD. The vocals don’t sound as separate from everything as they do on the CD, the warmness takes away that flat sound. The middle 8th instrumental sounds gorgeous and lush sound of the melody is more evident.
    Butterflies
    As I’ve said, like Heaven Can Wait, I always found this one boring, and now I know why! The rushed last minute dot com mastering and horrible CD mix failed to reveal to a large extent an album that’s primary strength was an r&b flavour. Before listening to this MOV version I would –and still would- describe the CD as a loud nosey abrupt dance pop album. After listening to the MOV version I would describe it as a multi layered r&b pop album with a bit of soul here and there; the warmness, the centring of vocals, the allowing the instrumentation to soar and dip. There’s horns on this track –I think played on a synth- that lifts this entire track towards its climax; sounds a lot like the material Prince did around the time of 3121 and Musicology. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the horns, at least with this much clarity and it gives this track the late night jazz feel that by passed me in the past.
    Speechless
    This was always one of my favourites. After the opening a cappella the instrumental comes in less abruptly -I might be getting slightly carried away with my descriptions by this point- This almost sounds stripped back. It’s a great song anyway in my opinion. That’s the end of Side-2. Like Dangerous, Invincible works incredibly well on the vinyl format because the way the tracks are grouped together fits everything nicely onto its own side.
    2000 Watts
    I’ve always leaned towards liking this because at the very least it gave us something different. Whereas the CD –yes, that horrible clunky thing I think I’ve mentioned once or twice or trice- gave us loud, gave us nose, this gives us melody as now I can actually hear the keboards, the syths, the samples, the vocals. It’s gone from an almost industrially loud fairground ride to an actual pop record with dance elements with vocals you can hear and enjoy and understand. You can hear Teddy Riley’s backing vocals on this –I didn’t even know he sang on this-
    You Are My Life
    At one point –there were many throughout the entire album- I could hear something for the first time ever!!!
    Privacy
    Lyrical content aside, sonically it actually sounds really good here. I never realised that the camera sound was embedded as part of the rhythm throughout the track! To be able to hear the top and bottom ends of the vocals and music elevates everything. The guitar solo sounds great –if it had actually been Slash he would have been proud of it-
    Don’t Walk Away
    This was originally one of my faves. By this point I’m saying the same things over and over but it is great to hear everything that was actually recorded. The instrumentation is beautiful as are the vocals, throughout. Did I mention that? That the vocals are great throughout?
    Cry
    Harmonies sound great and you can properly hear the drums toward the end.
    The Lost Children
    The strings have much more depth and beautifully accentuate. There’s a lovely choir or syth layered with the kids singing and it brings the melody out even more. The instrumental is beautiful.
    Whatever Happens
    It was always good, now it’s great! Not sure I’ve ever really heard the “sha nah nah’s” near the end, at least not this clear. Thank you Carlos.
    Threatened
    You can hear so much more. It’s dynamic and a tad more melodic when you can actually hear the music in something.

    In closing
    Listening to a version of Invincible that’s so much more dynamic, so much more versatile, you have to wonder what on earth happened? My main gripe with the album has always been about the track sequencing -which admittedly work a little better on a double album with 4 sides- and the mastering and compression on CD. So much music is lost on the CD and the loudness ruins what should have been a more melodic and catchy pop/r&b album. The Music on Vinyl version of the album is the closest you’ll get to something that should have been mixed and mastered as good as everything that came before it. If you love this album you need to hear it this way and if you don’t love this album you need to hear it this way. I can’t recommend it enough really. Has it changed my mind? Yes, to a large degree it has. I just hope that someday it’s remastered and sounds as good as, if not even better than this. I won’t hold my breath though as I have zero faith in the current administration.

    Not sure where I rate this album now, but it’s gone up in my estimation.

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    Default Re: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    I don't need to listen to Invincible on vinyl to know it's a terrific record (although I have heard it on vinyl, and yes, you do hear things that you miss on the CD version).

    Take a song like Heartbreaker for example. There is so much going on in that song, so many different layers/sound effects and a subtle looped beatboxing riff which repeats throughout. You really need to listen to it on headphones to get the full experience. And it's the same with songs like Break of Dawn, YRMW and Threatened.

    I've felt for a long time that Invincible is criminally underrated by a lot of fans, that just wanted and expected Dangerous/HIStory Part II. They didn't want to hear MJ singing contemporary R&B/soul songs like Butterflies or Break of Dawn. But for those who accused MJ of jumping on the bandwagon with Invincible, lest we forget, he was doing this kind of music on Thriller. Songs like Lady In My Life and Human Nature were some of his most soulful cuts. After Thriller, he focused more on hard-hitting up-tempos and power ballads, so for me, I appreciated that Invincible showed that MJ still had that smoother, more soulful side to his music. It had been a long time coming.

    The album isn't perfect. The first half works really well, but after Speechless, things get a bit confusing. 2000 Watts through to Cry is a curious section which isn't always easy to digest in one sitting. But then it picks up again, with The Lost Children/Whatever Happens and Threatened.

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    Default Re: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    Interesting. Thanks. I really must start getting back into Vinyl.

    I do like the album but I can't see it jumping up that much in my estimation, whatever the format!
    I CAN'T TAKE IT 'COS I'M TONY

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    Default Re: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    Where on earth did you get that idea?

    Two words: TOLD YA! I must give this a spin later on. Glad you finally got in back from the UK!

    No force of nature can break your will to self motivate.

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    Default Re: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    Quote Originally Posted by innuendo141 View Post
    Where on earth did you get that idea?

    Two words: TOLD YA! I must give this a spin later on. Glad you finally got in back from the UK!
    I should have put a special dedication to you. :lol:

    Honestly, it's like night and day! I actually think the production that went on in the studio is superb but the mastering went wrong. It was a revelation and I don't think I could ever listen to the CD again.

    Matt I've listened to the CD version on headphones but it lacks the warmth of what the MOV pressing gives you. Simply put, the CD is shite in comparison; compressed to crap and waaaay too loud.

    Tony, your post should read "I do like the portion of the album that I can hear; the middle section turned up too loud"
    Tony, just get this at some point as it's worth your while.

    Edit] I did read in Making Michael that it was mastered at Bernie Grundmans but they ran out of time and the album suffered. I've spent all this time blaming Darkchild, Jerkins, Freeze and the other 100 producers but clearly the MOV pressing reveals a much more sophisticated album.
    Last edited by aazzaabb; 02-03-2017 at 08:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    Quote Originally Posted by aazzaabb View Post
    I should have put a special dedication to you. :lol:

    Honestly, it's like night and day! I actually think the production that went on in the studio is superb but the mastering went wrong. It was a revelation and I don't think I could ever listen to the CD again.

    Matt I've listened to the CD version on headphones but it lacks the warmth of what the MOV pressing gives you. Simply put, the CD is shite in comparison; compressed to crap and waaaay too loud.

    Tony, your post should read "I do like the portion of the album that I can hear; the middle section turned up too loud"
    Tony, just get this at some point as it's worth your while.
    Preach brother. Its like the music has more oxygen to breathe! From the start of Unbreakable I was like "....OK, you sound lovely....." and it continued the whole way around. Even the acoustic guitars on songs like You Are My Life actually sound like guitars that cost more than a tenner. The final chorus of Cry floored me. Those guitars. Also I though the drums on butterflies sound less loud.

    Ive actually bought Xscape on vinyl online today. Im expecting no major revelations from that- you can't polish shite.

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    Default Re: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    I dunno aazzabb, you sound a bit like one of those posh audiophile nerds. I enjoy listening to high-fidelity music and I love listening out for hidden nuances etc, but ultimately, a good song shouldn't need a set of $500 headphones and the correct format to resonate. If it don't do it for you on CD, then I'd wager it won't do it for you on any format. At least I believe that to be the case with the vast majority of music listeners.

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    Default Re: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    Quote Originally Posted by innuendo141 View Post
    Preach brother. Its like the music has more oxygen to breathe! From the start of Unbreakable I was like "....OK, you sound lovely....." and it continued the whole way around. Even the acoustic guitars on songs like You Are My Life actually sound like guitars that cost more than a tenner. The final chorus of Cry floored me. Those guitars. Also I though the drums on butterflies sound less loud.

    Ive actually bought Xscape on vinyl online today. Im expecting no major revelations from that- you can't polish shite.
    Just thank gawd you are on here to discuss this and thanks for sort of pushing me to get it. The guitar on Privacy drips, I was like "this is f#%king great!" It all finally makes sense!!

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    Default Re: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJam View Post
    I dunno aazzabb, you sound a bit like one of those posh audiophile nerds. I enjoy listening to high-fidelity music and I love listening out for hidden nuances etc, but ultimately, a good song shouldn't need a set of $500 headphones and the correct format to resonate. If it don't do it for you on CD, then I'd wager it won't do it for you on any format. At least I believe that to be the case with the vast majority of music listeners.
    I promise you I'm no audiophile. Bit of nerd, probably yeah. Just try to believe what I'm saying for one moment and give it a go at some point. I was watching a thing recently about vinyls on BBC and some guy saying it was all nonsense but nah the difference here is phenomenal at least to my ears. Also, my record player cost 160 euros so it's not the most advanced with the biggest bestest sound.

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    Default Re: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    Quote Originally Posted by aazzaabb View Post
    Just thank gawd you are on here to discuss this and thanks for sort of pushing me to get it. The guitar on Privacy drips, I was like "this is f#%king great!" It all finally makes sense!!
    Listening to Unbreakable now and forgot how much better the drums/handclap sounds are in the choruses. I was almost going to listen to my new Jermaine Jackson Dynamite LP that I purchased cos of Matty but thats now gonna be a weekend jam

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    Default Re: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    Quote Originally Posted by innuendo141 View Post
    Listening to Unbreakable now and forgot how much better the drums/handclap sounds are in the choruses. I was almost going to listen to my new Jermaine Jackson Dynamite LP that I purchased cos of Matty but thats now gonna be a weekend jam
    Unbreakable sounds incredible dude. Not sure what I was expecting from this MOV, but wasn't expecting such a step up in all round quality!!

    You purchased Dynamite because of Matty or your not going to listen because of him? If you purchased because of him then he needs to purchase Invincible because of you! :lol:

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    Default Re: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    Quote Originally Posted by aazzaabb View Post
    Unbreakable sounds incredible dude. Not sure what I was expecting from this MOV, but wasn't expecting such a step up in all round quality!!

    You purchased Dynamite because of Matty or your not going to listen because of him? If you purchased because of him then he needs to purchase Invincible because of you! :lol:
    Ha BECAUSE of him. And thats a good deal!

    Regarding sequencing, Matty hits the nail on the head... I think the LP splits the album perfectly, but IF you were to remove 2000 watts to Dont walk away, and have Speechless go straight into Cry, then I think the album would work much better. The others could have been good b-sides (for singles that never were, that is).

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    Default Re: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    Quote Originally Posted by innuendo141 View Post
    Ha BECAUSE of him. And thats a good deal!

    Regarding sequencing, Matty hits the nail on the head... I think the LP splits the album perfectly, but IF you were to remove 2000 watts to Dont walk away, and have Speechless go straight into Cry, then I think the album would work much better. The others could have been good b-sides (for singles that never were, that is).
    I'm in that surreal state where because I feel people (Matty, to a lesser extent Tony) don't really believe me, I'm wondering if I dreamed it? I'm basically waiting for the next available opportunity to listen to it again!
    Yeah, with regards the sequencing I think it works very well on the two disc vinyl, much like Dangerous. Yes it would have been much tighter if a few had been excluded. I found myself enjoying 2000 Watts, well everything sounds so improved, as you say the tracks can breath and stretch. Awesome recommendation man! Thank you.

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    Default Re: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    Quote Originally Posted by aazzaabb View Post
    I'm in that surreal state where because I feel people (Matty, to a lesser extent Tony) don't really believe me, I'm wondering if I dreamed it? I'm basically waiting for the next available opportunity to listen to it again!
    Yeah, with regards the sequencing I think it works very well on the two disc vinyl, much like Dangerous. Yes it would have been much tighter if a few had been excluded. I found myself enjoying 2000 Watts, well everything sounds so improved, as you say the tracks can breath and stretch. Awesome recommendation man! Thank you.
    Hey! I always believe you!

    I'm inspired to get my turntable out the garage.

    I may even get my old 7" out.

    Insert your own joke here.
    I CAN'T TAKE IT 'COS I'M TONY

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    Default Re: Just heard Invincible for the 1st time!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony R View Post
    Hey! I always believe you!

    I'm inspired to get my turntable out the garage.

    I may even get my old 7" out.

    Insert your own joke here.
    I would have thought you would have gotten the 12" inch out. Thought you preferred the extended version, much longer.

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