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Review

Where's the spice, girl?


Schizophonic
Geri Halliwell
Milestones
Rs 125

What's schizophonic? It's schizophrenia in music, if you ask Geri Halliwell, breakaway Spice Girl.

The theme is the split in the personality of a girl who's goody-goody now and a bitchy seductress the next moment.

The red side of the inlay card features the siren's songs with Geri posing as a "come-on" girl. The reverse is white, with the angelic songs, and Geri's face, all innocent, complete with halo.

The tunes, the language and the ideas are interestingly thought out. Lift me up, Someone's watching over me, Walkaway, Sometime and Let me love you are romantic, quiet, pop melodies with singing violins and a grand vision of goodness. You're in a bubble, Bag it up, Look at me, Goodnight kiss, Mi chico latino have aggressive rhythms and punchy singing. These tracks are interspersed. Bawdy language in the "bad" songs is replaced by proper English in the "good" ones.

Mi chico latino with its Latin-American inclination is hit material. The Spanish-English lyrics add an exotic feel. Geri renders all her songs with impeccable style. Look at me screams for attention in every possible way: the lyrics, the tune and the video.

Goodnight kiss with its jazz-blues-slows overtones reminds one of Too much from the Spice Girls, but lacks the wholesome feel of that song. Bag it up with its feminist concerns relies on simplistic ideas of dominating the male. Let me love you startlingly starts off with Hindi words with a sitar in the background, making you wonder if there has been some mix-up somewhere. Then the hard beat comes on. The Hindi song too comes back in the interlude. This seems to be a good-bad song, perhaps merging Geri's two identities. Look at me also comes to some sort of an understanding where she sings, "Sometimes I don't recognise my own face/I look inside my eyes and find disgrace/My little white lies tell a story/I see it all it has no glory".

The other tracks are entertaining but not exceptional. In spite of Geri's efforts, this tape lacks the colour that was the trademark of the Spice Girls. The music doesn't work the same magic. It would be interesting to see if the next Spice Girl album suffers from a similar loss.

Geri's note thanks those who stood by her and also those who didn't. The breezy irreverence of the Spice Girls' music is gone; Geri plays instead with the old philosophical conflict between good and evil.

S Suchitra Lata


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