Year in Music 2017

Invincible

Jackson deserves points for being brave enough to title his latest effort Invincible—especially since (despite impressive first-week sales) he's never been more vulnerable.

Jackson deserves points for being brave enough to title his latest effort Invincible—especially since (despite impressive first-week sales) he's never been more vulnerable. His undeniable creative genius has sadly become increasingly overshadowed by tales of his personal life. Yet that's not the real problem with this set; it simply isn't his best work. Invincible shows Jackson chasing trends instead of setting them. Safe, uninspired cuts like "Unbreakable" and "Rock My World" feel about two days too late to be timely. Maybe it's too demanding to expect an artist who has previously set the standard of excellence and innovation in pop music to be continually on point. But he also seems to be stuck in the proverbial mud, laboring over the same lyrical concepts (media paranoia and childlike views of romance, for example). When you know a man is capable of greatness, it's hard to accept anything less.—LF