Here comes Emma Bunton checking out those same sixties vibes, but singing nursery...
Talia Kraines 2006-12-11
We've been crying out for a decent British female pop singer for ages now. So it's a good job that in 2006, Amy Winehouse came back, drawing huge influences from sixties girl groups and surprised us all with a belter of an album. Flip round to the other side of the spectrum, and here comes Emma Bunton checking out those same sixties vibes, but singing nursery rhymes, skipping happily, and handing out muffins to children.
A third solo album from a Spice Girl is no mean feat. Mel C might have managed it through setting up her own label, but Emma joins only Geri in releasing such an album through a major label.
Emma’s current high-profile status through Strictly Come Dancing, and Children in Need ensured that her cover of Petula Clark's magnificent “Downtown” was propelled into the top 5. But there's little on this album that could see Emma bothering it again.
That's not to say little ol' Baby Spice hasn't tried - she's even got Cathy "Toxic" Dennis to work on the winkling "Mischievous". But while she may be continuing the Sixties vibe of Free Me, there's nothing that even flirts with the beehive razzamatazz of "Maybe". Tuneless opener "All I Need to Know" manages to make 4 minutes feel like they last an hour, while the saccharine "He Loves Me Not" is enough to make anyone feel queasy.
In fact, apart from "Mischievous", the saving grace on Life in Mono is the Bond theme-esque title track itself. It's a lush, orchestral cover of a late-90s single by trip-hop ensemble - Mono - presumably plucked from the archives during the sleep-walk Emma was in when recording this album.