Geri Halliwell's Schizophonic

Spice No More

The more things change the more things stay the same, or so the old saying goes.
For Geri Halliwell-- the only Spice Girl to have enough 'girl power' to walk away
from her previous multi-million dollar merchandising hype machine-- the change
isn't much. After a little over a year's absence from the music scene Schizophonic
finds her returning to work with songwriters Watkins and Wilson and producer
Absolute, the same team who were responsible for half of the songs on the Spice
Girls' previous albums including 'Stop', 'Naked', and 'Who Do You Think You
Are', and with these key players in common, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that
Schizophonic's dancy, funky, and theatrical tracks are pretty similar to Spice
material. Made for radio singles 'Bag It Up', 'Mi Chico Latino', 'Let Me Love
You', and 'Look At Me' are packed bumper to bumper with sugar coated beats,
vampy horns, and Halliwell's girlish tones but the really intriguing items are songs
like 'Walkaway' and 'You're in a Bubble' where with lyrics like 'Big mouth, big
money, bitch,...where's your heart, did you sell that too?' Halliwell would
seem to comment on her Spice departure. Interestingly enough, you'll also find
inside the 'Official Information Line' for Geri's fan club - but be advised, it will cost
you 50 pence a minute to call. Did I say that the more things change, the more they
stay the same?-- alt-rock editor Erin Amar

Rolling Stone

Geri Halliwell: Schizophonic (Capitol)

out of five
As the allegedly least talented of the Spice Girls -- sort of the Ringo
of the group, or the Zac -- Geri Halliwell has a lot to prove on her
solo debut. Can she stand on her own? Can she sing? Can she come
up with a snappy new mantra? Schizophonic is more Girl Chutzpah
than Girl Power. Geri seems intent on being all spices: sweet, salty,
flirty, bossy. "Mi Chico Latino" is her impeccably timed contribution
to the Latin-pop phenom, complete with awkwardly pronounced
Spanglish; "Let Me Love You" has a Middle Eastern intro and
electric sitar, while "Sometime" offers a canned-sounding gospel chorus. "Lift Me Up" is simple,
effervescent pop. (Imagine several incarnations of Madonna compressed into one album: "La
Isla Bonita," "Shanti/Ashtangi," "Like a Prayer," "Cherish.") Geri's voice is flat and unsyncopated
-- she puts syllables in the darnedest places between the beat -- but it has a surprising,
undeniable charm. She's like a really enthusiastic impersonator, so anxious to win you over that
you give in. Schizophonic doesn't reveal any hidden talents. We always knew Geri would hang
onto the pop landscape for dear life. Hey, let her. (RS 816-817)




Geri Halliwell: Schizophonic (Capitol)
by: Kevin John
Ginger was my favorite Spice because she took Girl Power to heart. And
from making $1 a year as a United Nations goodwill ambassador to
going it alone as Geri Halliwell, she seems to have kept the faith. But I still
think Sporty is just plain more interesting, if not the most talented Spice.
Underneath her every Tae-Bo move, there seemed to be a tinge of
melancholy that made me want to know her more. So I always thought
she would be the first to release "The Introspective Solo Album" 10 years
down the line. Somewhat unsurprisingly, then, the only thing that Schizophonic tells me is that
history happens a little bit faster nowadays.

"I want people to know me on a deeper level," Halliwell says about her solo debut. "I ripped out
my heart and squeezed it into the lyrics." Now I feel sorry for George Michael, who let Former
Spice stay at his pad in L.A. for three months. Because knowing Geri at this deeper level
demonstrates that she's rather dull. Maybe she hasn't learned yet how to express herself outside
of slogans or cliches, but songs like "Goodnight Kiss" and "Bag It Up" plug into the Girl Power
mode with an automatism that bespeaks pandering rather than wanting to convey lived-in
experiences. And anti-loneliness elixirs like "Lift Me Up" and "Let Me
Love You" could have been written by a random Hallmark card generator.

The first track and single, "Look At Me" is the only good cut on the
album. It's a cosmopolitan shimmy-shake that shows Geri having fun with the myriad personas
she's adopted since "Wannabe." At one point, the music drops out and the song gets all heavy
and symphonic, real Garth Brooks-like. You think she's being way too pretentious about getting
you to look at the "real" Geri. But just as her voice swells to heights of self-importance, railing
against "white lies," she lets out a laugh that says as much about gender as performance as any
cut on Live Through This. And then it goes back to shimmy-shakin'.

Everything else is as predictable as the watered-down disco/syrupy ballad filler on a Spice Girls
album. Maybe a soundbite specialist or gossip hound can find honest appraisals of her time as a
Spice in lyrics such as "Kiss the new world," from the song "Lift Me Up," or "Been holding back
for years," from the song "Walkaway". But the rest of us will be too
bored to notice.


Wall of Sound

Geri Halliwell: Schizophonic (Capitol)
by: Daniel Durchholz
Scrape off the makeup, peel off that British-flag bustier, and kick off those
monstrous platform shoes, and the artist formerly known as Ginger Spice is
ready to take on the world. But is the world ready for — or more
accurately, will it care — about a freshly scrubbed Geri Halliwell, blond
now instead of redheaded, and attitudinally demure, as opposed to the
showy tart who was always screeching "girl power" and pinching the Prince
of Wales' bum? That, as Shakespeare once said, is the question.

On Schizophonic, Halliwell attempts to break with the past, but without moving so far afield as
to erode her fan base, which surely must have believed that if her split with the Spice Girls didn't
mark the end of the line for the allegedly 26-year-old singer, her gig as a Goodwill Ambassador
to the United Nations did. The album was produced by the Bristol duo Absolute, who had
worked with the Spices, so there's a familiar, broad-based pop feel to the disc, but it's
decidedly more low-key than anything the group ever recorded. "Look at Me" is a big, brassy
opener that sounds like James Bond film music, while "Mi Chico Latino" is a Spanish-flavored
dance number, a sort of poor man's take on Madonna's "La Isla Bonita." Her voice is
full-bodied and appealing on the ballad "Lift Me Up," but the tune is lightweight and insignificant.
On the other hand, "Walk Away," which finds Halliwell fronting a 60-piece orchestra, is stiff,
studied, and overblown.

The slinky "Goodnight Kiss" is something we'd have expected from Ginger Spice, but that's
meant in a pejorative sense. "Bag It Up," however, sounds like something out of the Spice Girl
songbook, but in a good way — it's a retro-disco romp that's forgettable fun, but fun
nonetheless. Other tracks, such as "Let Me Love You," with its touches of sitar, and "You're in
a Bubble," which finds Halliwell working herself into a lather about the hassles of fame, find her
overreaching a bit. In fact, a lot. But at least she's reaching. After all, as hard as it is being a
caricature of a pop star, it can't be too easy throwing all that away and trying to become the real
While hardly a masterpiece on the order of "Say You'll Be There," the former Ginger Spice's step
into the solo arena does an acceptable job of refashioning her into a "grownup" diva. Generally
underdeveloped material doesn't help, but the thin-voiced Halliwell acquits herself well enough on
some pop-funk numbers and when tweaking the sort of '60s high camp of which Robbie Williams
has been so fond. --Rickey Wright