Monday, December 04, 2006

Emma Bunton - Life In Mono (Universal)

It’s a considerably alien sentiment to feel virtual indifference to the release of a brand new Spice Girl album. Perhaps that elusive “s” missing from the end of “Girl” would trigger the world’s greatest heart attack, as opposed to the reaction of mild acknowledgement we felt on encountering the 12th solo album from the most exciting pop group in the history of recorded music.

Life In Mono, the third solo offering from Emma Bunton, may not induce holy elation for millions upon millions, but it’s certainly worth an examination. And while the music itself may appear far from groundbreaking, it’s undoubtedly a turning point for the lady herself.

Largely, we’re offered an unhurried, mellow compilation of servings of lite lounge, infused with the occasional Ibizan chillout mantra. Although Take Me To Another Town and Mischevious maintain Baby’s cutesy persona, the whole package is draped in enough gentle panache to achieve a level of gloss no other Spice has yet reached.

It’s hugely distanced from the lava lamp cliché of previous album Free Me. However, this isn’t without its downfalls – the vigorous cartoon class of Maybe would provide a shot of energy amidst the leisurely trills. With the exception of a couple of Sixties standards tacked on the end, the pace is measured, hushed, potentially even tedious. But evidently, Emma had no intention to even consider second gear, as this strict design brief provides a steadiness rarely found in contemporary pop.

Fair play to a woman who’s spent the best part of her adult life thus far dressing as a small child a good 20 years her junior. Life In Mono is not just Emma Bunton growing up, it’s Emma Bunton growing up with dignity. After a wired decade of flashbulbs and Buffalos, she’s kicking back, relaxing, and inviting you to do the same. In the most gracious, complimentary way possible, this is an album to send you to sleep. And who doesn’t love a nice kip?


Static&Silent said...

I really thought she'd found her own little niche with the whole 60s retro sound and that she'd manage to avoid the huge flops the other Spice Girls have had.

But from the midweeks, it looks like no-one cares anymore. Releasing it at Christmas was a huge risk that just hasn't paid off.

al said...

Ouch! A wholly Mono-free top 40.

LA State of Mind, anyone?

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