Single Of The Week 18/05/99

Single Of The Week is where I review a single I'm particularly enamoured of at the moment. It might be a brand spanking new release, or a classic from decades past that I just feel like going on about.

Look At Me
Geri Halliwell
7243 8 87076 0 2

Well, if every other magazine on the planet can write about it, why not me? Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell's first solo single, 'Look At Me', has been released with the kind of publicity fanfare not seen since, well, the last Spice Girls single (the allegedly-about-Geri 'Goodbye') hit the stands. The woman's apparently insatiable capacity for talking to the press has been given an even more useful boost by a head-to-head battle with Boyzone (covering Anne Murray!) for the UK #1 slot. Boyzone ultimately won, but in Australia, where they're not a top-shelf teen act, it looks like Geri might have the last laugh.

Several critics have compared this single to the Propellerheads' 'History Repeating', but what not many people have not pointed out is that it really isn't a million miles removed from previous Spice Girls material. This is no great surprise, given that Geri is working with production team Absolute, responsible for many of the girls' hits. The closing track on their second album, 'The Lady Is A Vamp', is quite clearly a precursor to this song.

It's an enjoyable piece -- even if the lyrics aren't the scathing attack on media attitudes we were promised -- but, like everyone else, I can't escape without a passing comment on Geri's voice. It's not terrible, not at all, but there are definitely points in the song's middle section, when she really tries to pull the full Shirley Bassey, which are a strain. When the line 'it has no glory' bleats out, you're screaming for someone with more drama, more passion, more range. But once it gets in your head, it sticks.

I also need to have my customary whinge about B-sides. All you're going to get if you buy this single is 'Look At Me', in single version, Mark's Big Vocal Mix Surgery Edit and Terminalhead Remix. Would just one other song have been too much to ask, or do they need to save every drop of musical inspiration for the album, Schizophrenic, due in June?

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