(EMI)



**



Review:

Russell Baillie



Well, she stopped Spiceworld 'cos she wanted to get off. Now here's the hard part, her first solo album.

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Well, no, we weren't really expecting a reinvention. And Geri Halliwell's debut sounds like what it is: Spice Girl with unspectacular voice but oh so abundant persona goes solo.



Which means she's declaring her independence (Look At Me, just one of four tracks with a "me" title), getting catty towards her old employers (You're In A Bubble), and alternating between feistiness towards the menfolk (the likable funky Bag It Up) and flashing her eyelashes at 'em, especially if they're foreign (the glutinous Mi Chico Latino).



She can't sing for toffee, of course, but gets by in a late 80s Madonna kind of way, especially on that aforementioned Latin lover number - it's lifted straight out of Maddy's tattered Spanish-Italian phrase dictionary.



There are other knock-offs, too, at their cheapest on the opener Look At Me, a toner-free photocopy of the Propellerheads-with-Shirley Bassey track History Repeating.



Otherwise Halliwell's co-writers and producers aren't straying too far from Spiceworld. Bag It Up is admittedly infectious discopop in the style of the Girls' Who Do You Think You Are. While Someone's Watching Over Me is a glassy-eyed parental tribute in the way of Mama. And so on ...



All this and late-night jazz too, sort of, on Goodnight Kiss, and there's a gospel touch to the quite nice Sometime. Those two aren't bad.



But when it is bad, it can be plain awful. Like Let Me Love You, which starts out all Indian-mystic (curry Spice!) and flirts with bisexuality. Golly.



Oh Geri, you're so wild, but so mature is what we're probably meant to say at this point. My, haven't you grown ...



Hardly.



She's been employed by the United Nations to do good works. Pity that clause wasn't in her record contract, too.