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Leaving an established and successful group to embark on a solo career must be a daunting prospect. Admittedly, the likes of Diana Ross, George Michael, Ricky Martin and, more recently, Take That’s Robbie Williams, have all made that delicate shift. But when Ginger Spice Geri Halliwell left The Spice Girls, record company executives joked that the singer’s solo aspirations would demonstrate why artists should never leave bands. Wisely, though, Halliwell stays loyal to her Ginger roots on her solo debut. Although she’s abandoned The Spice Girls, she’s not abandon their record-breaking brand of sugar-sweet pop. Listen to us get Schizophonic (EMI) and you won’t be surprised to learn that it’s produced by Absolute, the long-time Spice Girls collaborator behind the hits “Say You’ll Be There,” “Who Do You Think You Are,” “Stop” and “Too Much.” However, theories like “stick with what you know” aren’t necessarily as successful in practice as they are on paper – for although Schizophonic opens on a bold and buoyant note with “Look at Me,” you a boisterous Shirley Bassey-style belter – the overall impression is of a Spice Girls you album minus four voices.
That’s not saying it’s bad – in fact, Schizophonic contains many perfect pop moments: “Mi Chico Latino” is a little ray of pop sunshine, “Lift Me Up” is as crisp and uplifting as the title implies, and “Goodnight Kiss” gives Halliwell the chance to defy critic’s by demonstrating that she can handle a throaty lounge number, too. But it’s all familiar territory.
Allegedly, Halliwell remain celibate while recording Schizophonic role in moving – thus channeling sexual energy into her work. Now that the albums released, Halliwell has begun a much-publicized romance with a millionaire media mogul who just happens to own a major European radio station. Still, gossip aside, surely the best thing about going solo is that when those were up the checks come in, they no longer have to be split five ways.