Schizophonic: From NME
The myth of the survivor, the
diva, endures. The rainbow of pills and roses under the dressing
room mirror, the tear stains on satin, the perfect performance
from ruined hearts - this is the stuff of legend. Being famous
for your hair colour, a possible spat with some other
millionairesses and wearing the Union Jack - this isn't.
Here is a woman of (to be kind) dubious talent; a woman who only
exists between a red-top banner and a bold black headline, thin
as newsprint, subtle as a paparazzi shot. If you really care
about royal breasts or dead newscasters, you'll be happy with
Geri Halliwell's debut like you would be with a cereal packet
dragged from a starry Beverly Hills trashcan. Cheap memorabilia,
nothing more. If, however, you find the whole celebrity carnival
as thrilling as watching Stereophonics watching paint dry, then
this marketing ploy is unlikely to have you waving palm leaves
in the street. Of course, you'd have to believe in leprechauns
to think artistic value was the point.
'Schizo-phonic', breaking every seduction rule of women's
magazines, is an act of pure desperation. Count the signs: the
60-piece orchestra; the Latino number; the plucky showstopper,
the maudlin ballad. It's clichid like a river of tears running
past, yes, a mountain so high, yet when you're trying to be all
things to all people, that's inevitable. 'Look At Me' says it
all, attempting to create a self-reflexive conundrum, the
knowingly blank canvas, the irony-chip Idoru. What soon becomes
clear, though, is this is a woman who probably believes
postmodernism is something to do with e-mail. Craving adoration,
but desiring respect more, that title alone suggests she needs
the world to say, "But Geri! You're so complex!" so
she can smile bravely and reveal her voyage of self-discovery.
Tedious enough from a DNA pioneer or arctic explorer - from
someone whose vocation is grimacing through the embarrassing
sex-funk of 'Bag It Up', or modelling the ill-fitting
supper-jazz gown of 'Goodnight Kiss', it's completely
unnecessary. The bizarre Kula Shaker moment of 'Let Me Love You'
even appears to flirt with bisexuality. It sounds like it's
flirting with a radiator.
Often she refers to being a "little girl" in a
"grown-up world", as if her vulnerability, her
unformed pop star psyche make her an object of fascination. Yet
great pop music has always been about dealing with the grime and
grit. Understanding the heartbreak. Soundtracking the pain. This
doesn't even give good platitude. The show must go on, says the
myth. You're not supposed to wonder why it bothers .