During Michael Jackson‘s illustrious career, the undefeated King of Pop has blessed us with many musical and visual gems. Today’s From The Vault pick salutes one of his finest – ‘You Rock My World.’
Released in 2001, ‘World’ was MJ’s first single of the new century. The musical landscape was way different than it was the last time he had released material. Still, with producer extraordinaire Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, Michael crafted the absolute bop-banger to kick-start his comeback. With nods to his disco-heavy debut and sophist R&B (which was gaining momentum thanks to artists like Brandy, Usher and Jennifer Lopez), the track did solid service of positioning Jackson as a viable act amongst all the newcomers. All the while re-affirming that certain regal flair he’d been able to cultivate over the years.
‘Rock’ was issued as the first single from his criminally underrated final album, ‘Invincible.’ With the excitement of new MJ in the air, the release was a worldwide smash reaching the Top 10 in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, and Sweden to name just a few territories. It was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
In true Michael Jackson form, the video for the track was more than just a music video. Indeed, a whole mini-movie was lensed by Paul Hunter with appearances from Chris Tucker – who is also featured on the song’s opening skit – Michael Madsen and the legendary Marlon Brando. Reminiscent of Jackson’s earlier work, notably ‘Smooth Criminal’ and ‘The Way You Make Me Feel,’ the cinematic visual showcased the artist’s moves in earnest too and featured talented stunner dancer Kishaya Dudley as Mike’s love interest.
Unfortunately, all promo was halted a few months after the release of ‘Invincible.’ A much documented feud with then label-boss Tommy Mottola meant that the other bops on the album weren’t afforded the same exposure this single had. A seismic shame.
Nonetheless, MJ still managed to bag himself another instant classic with this one.
Almost 20 years on, this offering – much like the magic of Michael Jackson more broadly – continues to inspire generations; including many who weren’t even born. Only a King!