What were the original planned singles for Invincible?

Spaceship

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I know that MJ wanted "Unbreakable" to be the lead, but Sony went with "You Rock My World"; in America, it was only released to radio airplay. I think "Unbreakable" was planned to be the next one, but after 9/11, either Sony or MJ decided to release "Cry" next; however, Sony decided not to release it in America. Then, "Butterflies" was only released to radio airplay in America; "Unbreakable" was planned to come out next, but Sony ended promotion for the album.

Other planned singles were "Heaven Can Wait", "Speechless" (which had a promo release in South Korea), "Whatever Happens" and "The Lost Children". MJ also expressed interest in doing a short film for "Threatened". I'm curious as to what the order of singles was going to be.
 

Zeus 7

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I read 2000 Watts was a planed single "if he toured", from an insider WAY back in the day
 

filmandmusic

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In hindsight YRMW was a terrible safe decision. In terms of how massive a first single should be it was a relative letdown. I base this on my own reaction back then. A first release of a new MJ album was an event in my book and YRMW was a decent track but I remember being disappointed. I noticed similar reactions of people close to me back then. The video also felt like a retreat to the gangster styled bad era and I simply didn’t like the lightheartedness of it all.

A better decision imo would have been something “new” something that people aren’t really familiar with regarding MJ so I’d opt for the latin influenced “whatever happens” followed by “ heartbreaker” which is the most catchy song on the album with an irresistible beat. After that I would set my eyes on the American market which he had neglected since YANA and release the likes of break of dawn, butterflies and heaven can wait. Another European release could have been speechless If there was still appetite for releases.

I would avoid safe choices like YRMW or themes he had already covered in previous eras like “unbreakable, privacy, threatened and cry”.

But the entire project went up in flames from the start when you don’t pick a song as good as “ we’ve had enough” for a new album. That would have been an ideal starting single as well.
 

Spaceship

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"You Rock My World" was a fine lead single. MJ had a habit of releasing weak or polarizing songs as the lead singles for his albums since Thriller ("The Girl is Mine" for Thriller, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" for Bad, "Black or White" for Dangerous and "Scream" for History). What really matters for a lead single is that regardless of its quality, it has to be successful enough to create buzz for the album; "You Rock My World" reached No.10 on the Hot 100 with just airplay alone; if it were given a commercial release, then it would have peaked been higher, possibly at No.1.

They should have followed it up with "Whatever Happens" as the second single, which is the best song on Invincible IMHO and would have been a smash with a full release. Finally, I would have released "Butterflies" as the third and probably final single; it reached No.14 solely on airplay and would have charted higher if it had a commercial release. I don't think any other song from the album would have been a big success; most albums don't have several big singles to begin with, and the ones that do are monumental releases by younger artists. MJ was long past his peak by this point, so Invincible wasn't going to get several big hits. Furthermore, most albums released in the early 2000s only got 3-4 singles, even ones by popular younger artists like 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys, Usher, etc. I don't think Invincible was ever likely to get more than three singles, even with full promo.
 
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SmoothCriminal1995

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I think You Rock My World was the perfect lead single in 2001. It was a wonderful way for Michael to reintroduce himself to a younger audience, with a classic yet fresh style.

It felt like Michael Jackson being Michael Jackson, he's not trying to compete with any other artist, because he's in his own league
 

filmandmusic

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@Spaceship

I don't agree with MJ releases weaker choices as first singles for a new album. TGIM was a blockbuster smash with an ex Beatle, that's enough to get attention, DSTYGE was a multi layered dance floor smash, BoW was an extraordinary pop track with a groundbreaking video and scream was a duet with the greatest female star of the time, not to mention his sister. All perfect choices for lead singles. The odd one out is IJCSLY (and YRMW) but at that point Michael could have released a vocal warming up track and it still would have received tons of airplay.
 

Richard76

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Unbreakable should have been a single! And it had to have it own videoclip! the song is a masterpiece! Same i can say about Heartbreaker, 2000 watts, Whatever Happens and Threatened! These are the best songs from this album! Cry is veryyyy weak song. It didnt deserve to be a single... Just like lost children. Butterflies - 50/50. Maybe yes maybe no.
 

Nite Line

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Unbreakable should have been a single! And it had to have it own videoclip! the song is a masterpiece! Same i can say about Heartbreaker, 2000 watts, Whatever Happens and Threatened! These are the best songs from this album! Cry is veryyyy weak song. It didnt deserve to be a single... Just like lost children. Butterflies - 50/50. Maybe yes maybe no.
Unbreakable should have been a single but I can understand why Sony didn’t want it as the lead single. It had the same theme as many History songs and for a comeback single, it wouldn’t have been that appealing to the public.
 
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Spaceship

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@Spaceship

I don't agree with MJ releases weaker choices as first singles for a new album. TGIM was a blockbuster smash with an ex Beatle, that's enough to get attention, DSTYGE was a multi layered dance floor smash, BoW was an extraordinary pop track with a groundbreaking video and scream was a duet with the greatest female star of the time, not to mention his sister. All perfect choices for lead singles. The odd one out is IJCSLY (and YRMW) but at that point Michael could have released a vocal warming up track and it still would have received tons of airplay.

I said he was releasing weak songs as lead singles since Thriller, so "Don't Stop til You Get Enough" does not count as that's from Off the Wall.

"The Girl is Mine" is widely agreed as the worst song on Thriller, and many critics thought the album would flop when it first came out; they only changed their minds when "Billie Jean" came out.

I've seen a lot of people pinpoint "Black or White" as when MJ's music went downhill, and "Scream" was considered to be outdated by many critics when it first came out. The point is that regardless of how you feel about these songs, MJ's lead singles since Thriller were always met with mixed responses.
 
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filmandmusic

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If what you say is true @Spaceship then I can only say critics have no business being music critics. Maybe they should take up flower arranging.

We could go back and forth here but we have a different opinion about the matter and I respect that. So that’s it…
 

Spaceship

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Even MJ himself thought "The Girl is Mine" was weak. He intentionally picked it out as the lead single for that reason, because he was planning to surprise everyone with "Billie Jean" right after.
 

Themidwestcowboy

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I said he was releasing weak songs as lead singles since Thriller, so "Don't Stop til You Get Enough" does not count as that's from Off the Wall.

"The Girl is Mine" is widely agreed as the worst song on Thriller, and many critics thought the album would flop when it first came out; they only changed their minds when "Billie Jean" came out.

I've seen a lot of people pinpoint "Black or White" as when MJ's music went downhill, and "Scream" was considered to be outdated by many critics when it first came out. The point is that regardless of how you feel about these songs, MJ's lead singles since Thriller were always met with mixed responses.
Lol what? So because some people didn’t like black or white or scream they’re considered weak tracks? It’s funny how you keep on relying on the critics to influence your opinion since many of them (in the US) never had anything good to say about him post Bad and it wasn’t because of his music. It’s okay to say you didn’t like the tracks or say that you think they’re weak tracks but using critics and some “people” to support this argument is weak.

Black or White" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on December 7, 1991, making it the fastest US chart topper since the Beatles' "Get Back". It stayed there for a total of seven weeks. Jackson became the first artist to have number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s with the song. It is certified 2× Platinumby the Recording Industry Association of America(RIAA). Around the world, "Black or White" hit number one in 20 countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Eurochart Hot 100. It was the best-selling single worldwide of 1992.

The music video premiered simultaneously in 27 countries, with an audience of 500 million viewers, the most ever for a music video and the song was honored with the first.

The song has had a big cultural impact and the likes of comedians and cover artists still to this day so covers of this song.The music video, particularly the "Panther Segment", have been referenced or parodied by television shows and artists, notably by Saturday Night Live and In Living Color. Comedian Chris Rockjoked that he was angry because Jackson had smashed his car. In 1991, English rock band Genesis parodied the "Black or White" video in the ending of their video for "I Can't Dance", in which member Phil Collins imitates Michael Jackson's "panther" fit in front of a stark white background. In 2012, the television show Glee covered the song in the episode "Michael", it features primary voices from Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Amber Riley and Naya Rivera, and backing vocals from the rest of the cast. Jenna Ushkowitz and Darren Criss are not featured in the song or the performance. This cover debuted and peaked at number 64 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 42 at Billboard Digital Songs, and number 69 at Billboard Canadian Hot 100 chart at the week of February 18, 2012.[quote/]
But yeah, it’s a “weak” track.

When did MJ ever say The Girl Is Mine was weak by the way?
 
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dethorro

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Even MJ himself thought "The Girl is Mine" was weak. He intentionally picked it out as the lead single for that reason, because he was planning to surprise everyone with "Billie Jean" right after.
I’ve personally never heard that. When you watch the 1993 deposition you can clearly see the joy in his face when listening to the work tape of him writing the song and then later when listening to the original demo.

Additionally, I think they chose The Girl Is Mine as the lead single because it had Paul McCartney on it and it would be great promotion for the record.
 

zinniabooklover

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I’ve personally never heard that. When you watch the 1993 deposition you can clearly see the joy in his face when listening to the work tape of him writing the song and then later when listening to the original demo.
Agreed. He doesn't look or sound like someone who thinks the song is a sub-par piece of work. I don't especially like the song myself but once I'd seen him talking about it I became much more enthusiastic. It's hard not to respond to his reaction to the song. Joy, enthusiasm, excitement. Unless I'm projecting massively I can see all of that when he talks about it.
 

Spaceship

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Lol what? So because some people didn’t like black or white or scream they’re considered weak tracks?

More than "some", actually.
It’s okay to say you didn’t like the tracks or say that you think they’re weak tracks but using critics and some “people” to support this argument is weak.

They were all fine choices for singles, but they've always been divisive.
But yeah, it’s a “weak” track.

It's not so much that I think they're weak songs; it's that people were mixed towards them just like how people were mixed towards "You Rock My World". And commercial success says nothing about whether or not a song is good.

In regards to "Black or White", it was also controversial due to its lyrics; at the time, many people thought MJ was bleaching his skin because he didn't want to be black, so a song like this only added fuel to the fire. Especially with lyrics like "I'm not gonna spend my life being a color". Its controversial music video didn't help matters, either.
When did MJ ever say The Girl Is Mine was weak by the way?

A 1999 interview, and I believe his autobiography.
 
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Themidwestcowboy

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More than "some", actually.


They were all fine choices for singles, but they've always been divisive.


It's not so much that I think they're weak songs; it's that people were mixed towards them just like how people were mixed towards "You Rock My World". And commercial success says nothing about whether or not a song is good.

In regards to "Black or White", it was also controversial due to its lyrics; at the time, many people thought MJ was bleaching his skin because he didn't want to be black, so a song like this only added fuel to the fire. Especially with lyrics like "I'm not gonna spend my life being a color". Its controversial music video didn't help matters, either.


A 1999 interview, and I believe his autobiography.
Black or white is not a divisive single my friend. It’s fine if you don’t like it or think it’s a weak track but black or white has never been a divisive single as it garnered mostly favorable reviews from critics, fans, broke records, made a culture impact and still to this day is charting.

I don’t recall MJ ever saying that he thought that TGIM was a weak song/single. I could be wrong though. Are you sure you’re not referring to when he said, and I’m paraphrasing, that the song didn’t end up like he imagined it?
 
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Hess

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I am quite sure TGIM was released as lead single because it was a duet with Paul McCartney. - Paul was a HUGE star in most part of the world, a ex-beatle and white. - MJ went for breaking down barriers and he wanted his music to be universal - not what was considered "black music" back then. He made music for all genders, races, religions etc. to enjoy. And teaming up with probably the biggest white star in the early 80's was a great PR idea. - and it worked. The single got attention, maybe some heard the song who would normally not listen to a black artist and then the smash single (Billie Jean) got released and the rest is history.
 

Spaceship

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Black or white is not a divise single my friend.

It definitely was when it first came out. For the reasons I just mentioned, it's one of the most controversial songs MJ ever did.
It’s fine if you don’t like it or think it’s a weak track but black or white has never been a divise single as it garnered mostly favorable reviews from critics, fans, broke records, made a culture impact and stil to this day is charting.
Reviews were mixed, contrary to what Wikipedia might tell you. MJ and his music was not seen in the most positive light during the era.
I don’t recall MJ ever saying that he thought that TGIM was a weak song/single. I could be wrong though. Are you sure you’re not referring to when he said, and I’m paraphrasing, that the song didn’t end up like he imagined it?
He said he was unsatisfied with it in 1999.
 
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Themidwestcowboy

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It definitely was when it first came out. For the reasons I just mentioned, it's one of the most controversial songs MJ ever did.

Reviews were mixed, contrary to what Wikipedia might tell you. MJ and his music was not seen in the most positive light during the era.

He said he was unsatisfied with it in 1999.
So, where did he say that he thought The Girl Is Mine was a weak song? Being unsatisfied with a song is completely different than saying a song is weak. MJ was a perfectionist and not being 100% satisfied with his work was a natural byproduct of this mentality.

This is what you first said

"MJ had a habit of releasing weak songs as the lead singles for his albums since Thriller ("The Girl is Mine" for Thriller, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" for Bad, "Black or White" for Dangerous and "Scream" for History)."

Which I and some others in here contested. I showed you how well it performed and that it mostly garnered positive reviews from critics and fans alike and made a lasting cultural impact. Again, the media onslaught on MJ (in the US) had nothing to do with the actual music and it wouldn't have mattered what song he released because they would find anything negative to say about him during that point in time. And no lol, Black or White is not and has never been MJ's most controversial song. Just because some critics chose to isolate a specific part of the song and take it out of context to further their own agenda doesn't make this song controversial. In fact, I have never ever heard someone call the song Black Or White a controversial song. Why would it be? It's a song about unity and racial equality. There is absolutely nothing controversial about this song. I will concede that the Video (last part) was somewhat controversial.

So now what you are saying is that the song was weak because of issues unrelated to the song itself (MJ appearance, implied innuendo etc) and not about the actual quality of the song? Did I get that right?
 
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dethorro

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He said he was unsatisfied with it in 1999.
He also once said that he was never satisfied with anything because he was a perfectionist. So, I guess everything he ever did is weak, going by this logic.

By the way, this is the actual quote from the 1999 guide interview:

Q: Which songs disappointed you?

A: Wanna Be Startin’ Something.” Songwriting is a very frustrating art form. You have to get on tape exactly what’s playing inside your head. When I hear it up here [points to his head], it’s wonderful. I have to transcribe that onto tape. The Girl Is Mine” [his duet with Paul McCartney] wasn’t completely what I wanted, but it’s very nice. But “Billie Jean” is there. I worked so hard on that. I worked for three weeks on the bass lick alone.
—————————————————————
So, out of all the songs on Thriller, it was Wanna Be Startin Something which he was least satisfied with. Which is interesting considering that most fans consider it far superior to The Girl Is Mine.
 

Spaceship

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And no lol, Black or White is not and has never been MJ's most controversial song. Just because some critics choose to isolate a specific part of the song and take it out of context to further their own agenda doesn't make this song controversial.

That makes it controversial by definition, because the song is put under negative scrutiny. Many regular listeners were thrown off by it as well, particularly those in the black community. "Black or White" fueled the rumors surrounding MJ more, which led to criticism. Did people take it out of context? You could say the same about "They Don't Care About Us", but that doesn't stop the song from being controversial.

You say any song by MJ would have been criticized during this period, but not just any song talks about skin color, which is a touchy subject in relation to MJ.
So now what you are saying is that the song was weak because of issues unrelated to the song itself (MJ appearance, implied innuendo etc) and not about the actual quality of the song?
Whether they actually felt it was a musically weak song, or that only its message was offensive, the song was criticized all the same. The way a song's message is perceived also affects how people judge it musically, too.
He also once said that he was never satisfied with anything because he was a perfectionist. So, I guess everything he ever did is weak, going by this logic.

By the way, this is the actual quote from the 1999 guide interview:

Q: Which songs disappointed you?

A: Wanna Be Startin’ Something.” Songwriting is a very frustrating art form. You have to get on tape exactly what’s playing inside your head. When I hear it up here [points to his head], it’s wonderful. I have to transcribe that onto tape. The Girl Is Mine” [his duet with Paul McCartney] wasn’t completely what I wanted, but it’s very nice. But “Billie Jean” is there. I worked so hard on that. I worked for three weeks on the bass lick alone.
—————————————————————
So, out of all the songs on Thriller, it was Wanna Be Startin Something which he was least satisfied with. Which is interesting considering that most fans consider it far superior to The Girl Is Mine.

So he kicked off Thriller with a song he wasn't satisfied with, then followed with one that he was satisfied with. I thought it was a deliberate move on his part, but I'll concede that doesn't necessarily mean he felt it was a weak song.
 
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Themidwestcowboy

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That makes it controversial by definition, because the song is put under negative scrutiny. Many regular listeners were thrown off by it as well, particularly those in the black community. "Black or White" fueled the rumors surrounding MJ more, which led to criticism. Did people take it out of context? You could say the same about "They Don't Care About Us", but that doesn't stop the song from being controversial.

You say any song by MJ would have been criticized during this period, but not just any song talks about skin color, which is a touchy subject in relation to MJ.

Whether they actually felt it was a musically weak song, or that only its message was offensive, the song was criticized all the same. The way a song's message is perceived also affects how people judge it musically, too.


So he kicked off Thriller with a song he wasn't satisfied with, then followed with one that he was satisfied with. I thought it was a deliberate move on his part, but I'll concede that doesn't necessarily mean he felt it was a weak song.
Let's take a look at the word controversial and the definition for the word

"when you describe something or someone as controversial, you mean that they are the subject of intense public argument, disagreement, or disapproval."

"Controversial of, relating to, or characteristic of controversy, or prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; polemical:"

So no. There was no intense public arguments, disagreements, disapprovals, debate or prolonged public disputes when it came to the song Black Or White. Just because someone says something negative about the song (it was not even about the song itself) doesn't make it controversial. By your logic, if someone says anything negative about anything then it's considered controversial.

You say "Many regular listeners", "the black community". But can you tell me how you collected this data cause I'm really curious to know?

To be honest, I don¨t even know what we're bickering about. I think time has proven that Black Or White was a brilliant single choice and the song itself has stood the test of time and is loved for it's global message and has broken countless records and won awards and went to no 1 in numerous countries. If this is considered a weak song or a weak single choice I wish MJ would have released more weak singles like this.
 
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Hess

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I would have loved Whatever Happens to have been released as a single.

I do actually think YRMW was a great choise as first single. - It was classic MJ, got a great video with famous actors and a story like most MJ musicvideos.
 

Eric

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I know that MJ wanted "Unbreakable" to be the lead, but Sony went with "You Rock My World"; in America, it was only released to radio airplay. I think "Unbreakable" was planned to be the next one, but after 9/11, either Sony or MJ decided to release "Cry" next; however, Sony decided not to release it in America. Then, "Butterflies" was only released to radio airplay in America; "Unbreakable" was planned to come out next, but Sony ended promotion for the album.

Other planned singles were "Heaven Can Wait", "Speechless" (which had a promo release in South Korea), "Whatever Happens" and "The Lost Children". MJ also expressed interest in doing a short film for "Threatened". I'm curious as to what the order of singles was going to be.
YRMW wasn't only released to radio in the USA. While it wasn't released as a CD single it was released on 7" vinyl single in the USA.
 

Spaceship

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There was no intense public arguments, disagreements, disapprovals, debate or prolonged public disputes when it came to the song Black Or White.

There was.
Just because someone says something negative about the song (it was not even about the song itself) doesn't make it controversial. By your logic, if someone says anything negative about anything then it's considered controversial.
When it's a lot of people, it's controversial.
You say "Many regular listeners", "the black community". But can you tell me how you collected this data cause I'm really curious to know?
I don't think it'd change your mind.

I think time has proven that Black Or White was a brilliant single choice

I don't disagree. Still was a divisive song, though.
 

Themidwestcowboy

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There was.

When it's a lot of people, it's controversial.

I don't think it'd change your mind.



I don't disagree. Still was a divisive song, though.
Okay well show me then. If there was
intense public arguments, disagreements, disapprovals, debate or prolonged public disputes when it came to the song Black Or White show me. I can show you the intense backlash and controversy about They Don’t Care About us in an instant so you should be able to show me evidence of this controversy when all this happened.

Show me the data I want to see.


You’re free to believe what you want but that doesn’t make it objectively true. The truth is this song has never been linked to anything controversial ever, outside of the music video. you just say many people to bolster your argument. Refer me to articles, news clips, reviews, of those “many” people. I don’t think you can. Just like you said that MJ thought TGIM was a weak song and was adamant about that which was completely false and a strawman for you to use.
 
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Eddlicious

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Unbreakable as the lead single would've been a SMASH. Then he could've followed it up with Whatever Happens as the second single.
 
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