It’s something every serious music fan has gone through at one point in their music loving lives. There you are happily walking to work/ ‘LOL’ing along to Loose Women/ waiting for the old lady at the post office counter to get her pin number right on the third attempt , when suddenly the question smacks you in the face with all the subtlety of a Kanye West Twitter rant. You can’t believe you haven’t asked the question before this moment. You wonder why Jeremy Paxman hasn’t asked Boris Johnson about it on Newsnight. You want to run manically into Tesco’s, throw Sandra from Customer Services off her cushioned swivel chair and scream passionately into the announcement speaker:
WHERE THE TITTING FUCK IS GERI HALLIWELL??!
Luckily for the World of Music and the people who listen to it, that question has now been answered by the lady herself. Yes, last week Geri Halliwell- the woman with more musical lives than a banjo playing cat- revealed that she’s been working on her fourth (no really, FOURTH) solo studio album, which she aims to release in the Autumn. She’s been uncharacteristically coy on the details so far, but whisperings suggest the sound will veer towards high end dance.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: ‘Well this is going to be an unmitigated pile of wank isn’t it??!’, and anyone who has heard eighty percent of Halliwell’s solo material would be completely forgiven for thinking that. But let’s rewind twelve years to Halliwell’s debut album ‘Schizophonic’. Songs like ‘Look At Me’, ‘Bag It Up’ and ‘Mi Chico Latino’ were actually rather good pop songs which transmitted the same energy and sense of fun that Geri had bought to The Spice Girls. As an album Schizophonic had a camp, kitsch factor which she managed to pull off without seeming contrived, and while her cheese grater vocals could start to get on your tits by the fifth song, the album had a cohesive identity- an integrity even- that kind of surprised people. Schizophonic produced three number one singles, and for a time it seemed like she could actually make a thing out of this whole ‘solo star’ shindig.
Unfortunately the problem for Geri Halliwell is that she tends to have a reputation for being ‘a bit shit’. In her Spice Girls days she was always known for her ballsy passion and energy rather than any discernible talent as a singer/ songwriter which, together with a self determination bordering on the cusp of desperate, made her seem a bit, well, ‘naff’. As album two- ‘Scream If You Wanna Go Faster’-screeched into view in 2001 the public were already starting to get a bit turned off, so that by the time her third album ‘Passion’ was released in 2005, no one really cared. Ironically ‘Passion’ featured a couple of her best songs, but poor single choices and lack of interest led to it peaking at no. 41 in the UK albums charts before bombing into obscurity after a week.
It’s long been known that talent isn’t always needed to make a brilliant pop star however. Self delusion, naked ambition and a good healthy dose of mentalness- THESE are what make brilliant pop stars. It’s why Geri has provided so many great pop moments; the union jack dress, the crazy Flash Dance routine in the video for ‘It’s Raining Men, and of course being poked in the arse by silver aliens. Long before Lady Gaga was hatching out of an egg on stage, there was good ol’ Geri Halliwell performing ‘Bag It Up’ between a giant pair of inflatable legs. She bought a sense of fun and colour to pop which arguably the likes of Leona Lewis- with her slick world class voice and polished performances- don’t.
Which is why Geri’s return to music might not be such a bad thing after all. Granted, the odds of this new album being gut wrenchingly appalling are rather high, but if she manages to veer away from songs of the ‘GETTIN DOWN IN DA CLUUUUUB’ variety, and heads to the quirkier side of pop, she may just have a chance. The challenge for her will be to sound current without verging on desperate; to release an album which makes people sit up and say ‘Well actually this is quite interesting. I’ve misjudged you Geri’, rather than ‘OH JESUS GERI HALLIWELL IS DOING DUB STEP. ABORT. ABORT!!!’.
Welcome back to music Geri. Here’s why we think we might be sort of pleased that you’re returning: