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> Geri Halliwell - Schizophonic, 1st Album • Discussion Thread | Reviews, ratings, opinions
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Spiceboy
post Apr 24 2020, 09:59 AM
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'Schizophonic'
7th June 1999

1. Look at Me
2. Lift Me Up
3. Walkaway
4. Mi Chico Latino
5. Goodnight Kiss
6. Bag It Up
7. Sometime
8. Let Me Love You
9. Someone's Watching Over Me
10. You're in a Bubble


---------------

So myself and Jay have been talking and we thought after the Spice album threads proved to be interesting reads and discussions we would work our way through each solo Spice album release week by week (in order of release) and do an 'album discussion.'

What do you think of the album? What's your favourite song? Do you like the single releases, would you change any? Is the track-list in the right order? Is there anything you would change about the promotion? Rate the songs from favourite to least favourite, give them a score, tell us your views and don't hold back (Sammy certainly won't laugh.gif w00t.gif heart.gif )

This week we start with Schizophonic!

Go go go go go!!!


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Spiceboy
post Apr 24 2020, 10:15 AM
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I'll start

So Schizophonic was the first solo album to be released!

I think Geri did well with her first album, although I liked it a lot more back then compared to now interestingly. I used to rate it as her best album but as I've got older and (recently) given them all a re-listen from start to finish (including MOTM the leaked one) I actually think each album of hers has got stronger and that Schizo, despite having some strong songs, is the weakest of the lot now.

Look at me was the perfect comeback song really can't fault it, I personally think she could have double a-sided it with Walkaway maybe, this might have clinched those few sales needed to nab that #1 spot making her the first female to get 5 consecutive #1 singles (and the only one to do it from first single). Then again Look at me was certainly strong enough to do it on it's own, that pesky extra CD!!!

Mi chico latino is the highlight of the CD (and Geri's entire career) for me. It's a sublime pop song and I rate it in my top 5 solo Spice releases ever, utterly adore it! The video is nice with the hunky men too haha.

Lift me up, cheesy yes, vocals a bit dodgy yes, video even cheesier yes... but I do have a soft spot for it. It's got a lovely melody to it and I remember it randomly (years later) coming on the radio when I was due to go collect my A-Levels and my mother saying it was my Grandmother telling me I had done well and not to worry (lol I was crapping myself really needed the A's to get into uni!), so that's a sweet memory too. I loved the promotion of the album with the sign language, it's something I've never seen a popstar do before (or since) and as a young deaf boy it meant a lot to me... it made Geri a firm favourite at the time! Interestingly the girls had a sign language interpreter on their tour on the side of the screens... they have never done it since I don't know why??? Again it was something I loved as it meant I understood the whole show (I can never understand what acts are saying as they speak to the audience) something I haven't had since except for when I saw Kylie at Brighton Pride.

Bag it up - hmmmmm I'm not the biggest fan of this song but then I don't dislike it either, and always find myself singing along at the top of my voice when it comes on my Spice playlist haha. I do have fond memories of the song, I remember loving the video at the time, and myself and my cousin used to jump up and dance to it with a routine we made everytime it came on the music channels. I can't really see a better fourth single on the album tbh (maybe someone's watching over me or Goodnight kiss) she made the right choice.

All in all, the album did what it had to do sold nearly half a million in the UK hit charts across the world (although not as high as I expected looking on Wiki) and remains the highest charting solo album in the US narrowly missing out on top 40 apparently selling nearly 200k there (which #1 albums struggle for in this day and age). It was a good effort and I do appreciate the album. I think the closer is terrible though laugh.gif also not a fan of Let me love you.

My rating
1. Mi chico latino (10/10)
2. Someone's watching over me (10/10)
3. Look at me (9/10)
4. Walkaway (8/10)
5. Goodnight kiss (8/10)
6. Lift me up (7/10)
7. Bag it up (7/10)
8. Sometime (6/10)
9. You're in a bubble (4/10)
10. Let me love you (3/10)
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schizo_spice
post Apr 24 2020, 10:39 AM
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My fave solo album for 21 years (who'd have guessed)

I remember seeing the Look ar Me video premiere on TOTP and just being blown away, did not expect such a fantastic come back from Geri.

Then I bought the album from Virgin Megastore the week of release and have loved it ever since. Four great unique singles and ten varied and interesting tracks. The Absolute team truly did a fantastic job producing this record. Vocally I know she'll be criticised until the end of time for this album but her limitations have never bothered me I actually find them endearing in places. You cant deny she pours emotion into her vox on tracks like Walkaway and Someones Watching Over Me that just would've sounded empty with somene like Leona Lewis. Her charismatic fiesty vocals on tracks like Sometime and You're in a Bubble also serve the song exceptionally well.

Geri has obviously lost the very husky tone found on this album now so it makes it even more special.

Let's not forget the artwork which was really creative with the heaven and hell theme. I think I always preferred the red side to be my front cover overall.

I could go on about each track which are all special to me but I'd write an essay haha. All I can say is my least fave is probably Let Me Love You which I do still adore a lot.
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Mr.X
post Apr 24 2020, 10:45 AM
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I remember getting this album and thinking that it was cute but a bit boring. Some of the tracks are interesting such as Walk Away and Summertime, and obviously Look At Me, Mi Chico Latino and Bag It Up were the type of pop that was popular then.

But honestly, it lost me after a few listens back then and I never really bothered to return to it in full. I listend to Summertime back a few years and didn't particularly like it anymore either..

In terms of its release, it is so clear how she went with the original Spice formula:

First single: instant pop with a controversional/corny appeal
Second single: a bit moodier and cooler, sexier song, building on previous success
Third single: balad
Fourth single: camp pop

Personally, it was too cringy and on-the-nose for me. You can gve her props for excellent promotion skills, but that doesnt mean the music and performances were great either.

I might pop it on spotify over the next few weeks but even lockdown has not really given me any appetite to indulge on things that I didnt particularly fancy doing in the first place, ah. But I feel like there is now enough time in between now and the last listen, to warrent a try.

Pray for me teresa.gif
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Spiceboy
post Apr 24 2020, 11:37 AM
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QUOTE(schizo_spice @ Apr 24 2020, 11:39 AM) *
My fave solo album for 21 years (who'd have guessed)

I remember seeing the Look ar Me video premiere on TOTP and just being blown away, did not expect such a fantastic come back from Geri.

Then I bought the album from Virgin Megastore the week of release and have loved it ever since. Four great unique singles and ten varied and interesting tracks. The Absolute team truly did a fantastic job producing this record. Vocally I know she'll be criticised until the end of time for this album but her limitations have never bothered me I actually find them endearing in places. You cant deny she pours emotion into her vox on tracks like Walkaway and Someones Watching Over Me that just would've sounded empty with somene like Leona Lewis. Her charismatic fiesty vocals on tracks like Sometime and You're in a Bubble also serve the song exceptionally well.

Geri has obviously lost the very husky tone found on this album now so it makes it even more special.

Let's not forget the artwork which was really creative with the heaven and hell theme. I think I always preferred the red side to be my front cover overall.

I could go on about each track which are all special to me but I'd write an essay haha. All I can say is my least fave is probably Let Me Love You which I do still adore a lot.



Write the essay!! I wanna hear it wub.gif

Ps I always preferred the White cover never really liked the Red side!
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Jade
post Apr 24 2020, 12:09 PM
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The singles are a mixed bag - I love 'Mi Chico Latino' and really like 'Look At Me' but am not a fan of the other two. I've listened to the whole album multiple times but the album tracks haven't proven particularly enduring, I preferred those from 'Scream If You Wanna Go Faster'!
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Jay*
post Apr 25 2020, 04:06 AM
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I loved Schizophonic at the time! Whereas I was disappointed with Scream and Passion when they were released. It's been years since I heard the three albums in full, so perhaps my tastes will have changed since then... I'll have to listen to them all again sometime and reassess! Based on my memories though, Schizophonic was in my Top 3 Spice albums, and I considered it to be Geri's best.

It had such an excellent singles campaign too, she chose very wisely. Mi Chico Latino has endured as being my favourite single from the album, and of her entire career... and probably in my Top 5 favourite solo Spice singles overall. She really did that with Mi Chico Latino! Look at Me is full of personality and was the perfect lead, I adored it upon release. I don't tend to go back to it much anymore, but when I do it's still such a unique listening experience. I still really enjoy Bag It Up, the disco influences and it being completely in your face... pure Geri, so much fun. My opinion on Lift Me Up might be partly because of sentimentality, but I honestly really do like it and I find it to be very cute, even though it seems to be a lot of fans' least favourite Geri single. laugh.gif

QUOTE(Spiceboy @ Apr 24 2020, 11:15 AM) *
Look at me was the perfect comeback song really can't fault it, I personally think she could have double a-sided it with Walkaway maybe, this might have clinched those few sales needed to nab that #1 spot making her the first female to get 5 consecutive #1 singles (and the only one to do it from first single). Then again Look at me was certainly strong enough to do it on it's own, that pesky extra CD!!!

Not sure if I'll ever get over the Look at Me "two CDs having the same track list" thing, it was so dumb cry.gif It would have been very interesting move for her to launch with a Double A Side and show the "split sound" of her album, but then again I like that she went with Look at Me on its own... as a choice it was so full of bravado. Really should have been a #1. sad.gif


I remember my Mum bought me the CD in its first week on sale, and she'd bought the red cover! I'm not sure if the white or red was more common or if there was an equal distribution. I would often flip the booklet around so I'd have the white cover showing sometimes too, so the booklet is quite tatty. kink.gif Many years later I bought another copy, so I have my original copy as the red cover and the second copy showing the white cover. After 21 years I'm still undecided about which artwork I prefer. The red image is certainly very sultry and striking. The white image is a nice shot of her, but maybe less interesting. The full image is actually her posing in a straitjacket, but it's cropped... I suppose her label thought that would be too controversial or offensive for an album cover? I find that both of these artworks are better than Scream (too cheesy and fake looking) and Passion (totally nondescript!).


QUOTE(Mr.X @ Apr 24 2020, 11:45 AM) *
In terms of its release, it is so clear how she went with the original Spice formula:

First single: instant pop with a controversional/corny appeal
Second single: a bit moodier and cooler, sexier song, building on previous success
Third single: balad
Fourth single: camp pop

An interesting comparison and it certainly seems like a formula she followed! A successful formula too. Maybe Bag It Up should have had Walkaway as the ballad half of a Double A Side release!
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sammy01
post Apr 25 2020, 07:55 AM
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It is much better than it has any right to be. Look at me and Mi chico latino are genuinely great songs. She got the balance right of actual music and personality. The 2 follow ups were a mess though where she forgot to make good music and just went full on camp personality.

It sounds pretty dated now though aside from LAM and MCL.
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Mr.X
post Apr 25 2020, 09:27 AM
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After I wrote that last night, I went to listen to the album and genuinelly, it's trash...

Here's some track by track reviews:

1. Her voice is really bad in Look at Me specifically. Those 'high notes' she tries to hit are just embarrassing... It's wild this was her first ever offering as a solo artist. Yes, I can see the mass appeal coming from a Spice Girl like her. But honestly this probably killed any chance of being seen as a credible artist by then ah

2. Lift Me Up is just cringe...The song would have been better with a better singer on it, but Im not sure it would improve it.

3. Walk Away is the best song on the album but it is totally beyond her 1999 singing capacity... She could probably pull it off better nowadays

4. Mi Chico Latino is ok but incredibly dated...

5. Goodnight Kiss is the second best song on the album and she probably would sing it well nowadays! Lyrically it's probably one of the best things she has ever done..

6. Bag It Up is trash, sorry. It's the type of song that Steps or Holly Vallance would release back then. Fine if that's your thing but I find it grating and cringe.

7. Sometime is cute. Used to be my favourite back then. Somehow, it sounds genuine. Her voice suits this and the lyrics are quite good! I found myself enjoying it more than before, for sure. The chorus is sooo nice and breezy. Her voice isnt the best but finds a good place here, I think.

8. Let Me Love You. Why?.... I want to believe there is a good song here, but it's a mess... She sounds terrible. The chorus is the best part but it's just a bit meh. It's basically her own 'Do It': pop by the numbers, but too cringe to be enjoyable...

9. Someone's Watching Over Me is her at her most honest ever. And it shows. I didnt expect to enjoy it as much as I did actually. I tihnk it is a bout her dad, right? You can tell this comes from the heart and thus it allows you to have an emotional connection to her and the song itself. It's good!

10. You're in a Bubble. This was seen as Victoria dig at the time right? Or maybe I read that somewhere and took it for gospel back in 1999 lol It's terrible... I found myself laughing at it rather than with it... It's not as bad as that 'Heaven & Hell' track on her second album though lol

Final: A solid 4 out of 10 teresa.gif

Listen, it's not a horrible album. That's Passion. This has good moments and I was surprised to be enjoying the ballads much more this time! It's clear that she should have either learnt how to sing back then OR started to write for others. Because whilst this feels like a very Geri Halliwell album, that is not to say that it is an enjoyable one. She can be a good lyricist when she really gets into it and allows herself to be honest and vulnerable, and sometimes quirky. But as a singer, she has no personality in her voice... It's distinctive but it's not enjoyable for a whole album..

It's definitely her best album though, and she was clever in releasing it back then. It's the best she could have done and she deserved the success it got as she really threw everything she had at it, promotion wise (hi Chris Evans!!), so kudos to her. As a singer/artist? This isnt showing great depth or tallent, im afraid.
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Jay*
post Apr 25 2020, 10:19 AM
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Holly Valance? I disagree with her as a reference point for a song like Bag It Up! Bag It Up is camp as tits and disco inspired. Holly released sexy and sultry songs, with middle Eastern flavours for the first era, then more electro-pop/synths in her second era... she wasn't a Bag It Up sort of artist at all.

You've brought up Steps unfavourably in the past too (can't remember what the context was last time) but I really don't think they would or could have ever done a song like Bag It Up. Steps were mostly all about 'cry-dance' songs, emotional lyrics combined with an uptempo sound. Bag It Up is really not that. Perhaps Stomp is in roughly the same ballpark, but it's not outrageously camp like Bag It Up.

I struggle to think of any other artists that Bag It Up would suit, like it did for Geri. As far as I'm concerned it's completely her song.


I think the one major thing going for Geri's voice in 1999 was that it was full of personality! Having a vocal that shows personality is essentially the same as being distinctive? Ironically she lost the personality that her voice had when she had her vocal nodules removed and had some vocal training. Honestly, part of her charm was that she wasn't a great singer... but nevertheless she had something to her voice that really worked for her.
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Spiceboy
post Apr 25 2020, 10:26 AM
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Mr X has cancelled anymore of these topic ohmy.gif Don't hold back laugh.gif
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Mr.X
post Apr 25 2020, 11:21 AM
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QUOTE(Jay ☆ @ Apr 25 2020, 10:19 AM) *
Holly Valance? I disagree with her as a reference point for a song like Bag It Up! Bag It Up is camp as tits and disco inspired. Holly released sexy and sultry songs, with middle Eastern flavours for the first era, then more electro-pop/synths in her second era... she wasn't a Bag It Up sort of artist at all.

You've brought up Steps unfavourably in the past too (can't remember what the context was last time) but I really don't think they would or could have ever done a song like Bag It Up. Steps were mostly all about 'cry-dance' songs, emotional lyrics combined with an uptempo sound. Bag It Up is really not that. Perhaps Stomp is in roughly the same ballpark, but it's not outrageously camp like Bag It Up.

I struggle to think of any other artists that Bag It Up would suit, like it did for Geri. As far as I'm concerned it's completely her song.
I think the one major thing going for Geri's voice in 1999 was that it was full of personality! Having a vocal that shows personality is essentially the same as being distinctive? Ironically she lost the personality that her voice had when she had her vocal nodules removed and had some vocal training. Honestly, part of her charm was that she wasn't a great singer... but nevertheless she had something to her voice that really worked for her.


Sorry Jay but don't agree. Yes, it was a very Geri-album, but the comparisons was in the type of pop, bubble gum, corny music that was coming from Steps and the like of the time. It was in that similar category, but with a Geri vybe, obviously. It's ok, each to their own.

In terms of her voice, I will say again what I said: distinctive doesnt make it good! in fact, it was pretty terrible. Recognisable? Yes, but whilst *she* has personality to boost, I guess when it comes to her voice that wasnt so appealing. Plus, she clearly cant sing well...

But alas... it was actually a more enjoyable experience than I remembered or expecting lol

These are just my opinions. It's clear that the album resonates with many of you and that's all good and nice. I look forward to more of these types of topics cheer.gif
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vibe
post Apr 25 2020, 11:45 AM
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Let Me Love You - has always reminded me of another song but I have never worked out what !!!
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Spiceboy
post Apr 25 2020, 12:27 PM
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QUOTE(Mr.X @ Apr 25 2020, 12:21 PM) *
Sorry Jay but don't agree. Yes, it was a very Geri-album, but the comparisons was in the type of pop, bubble gum, corny music that was coming from Steps and the like of the time. It was in that similar category, but with a Geri vybe, obviously. It's ok, each to their own.

In terms of her voice, I will say again what I said: distinctive doesnt make it good! in fact, it was pretty terrible. Recognisable? Yes, but whilst *she* has personality to boost, I guess when it comes to her voice that wasnt so appealing. Plus, she clearly cant sing well...

But alas... it was actually a more enjoyable experience than I remembered or expecting lol

These are just my opinions. It's clear that the album resonates with many of you and that's all good and nice. I look forward to more of these types of topics cheer.gif



You come for Northern Star I'm gonna give Free Me the worse review in HISTORY pirate.gif pirate.gif pirate.gif
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Mr.X
post Apr 25 2020, 04:39 PM
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QUOTE(Spiceboy @ Apr 25 2020, 12:27 PM) *
You come for Northern Star I'm gonna give Free Me the worse review in HISTORY pirate.gif pirate.gif pirate.gif





































But honestly I love Northern Star cheer.gif
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post Apr 25 2020, 06:49 PM
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I won't name names (as to not start a war)...but I'll just say...there were a lot of new pop acts arriving on the scene around this point in time who were releasing perfectly well-crafted debut albums. But if we're being honest...the songs by those artists were 100% interchangeable. And that's really not true of a lot of Geri's Schizophonic material. The album's kinda...unapologetically weird.

I'm not sure another big pop star of the time would have done those shouty bits in Sometime. They certainly wouldn't have recorded the "little white lie" part of Look At Me. They wouldn't have touched You're In a Bubble.

And I mean it as a compliment. You may or may not like those elements...but I appreciate the quirk. She was many things...but she wasn't an anonymous recording artist. It's obvious she had major influence over the lyrics and direction of the album.

Anyway. I actually think Schizophonic's pretty solid. Top to bottom. The songs are catchy and memorable...and would probably be far better remembered/respected had they been recorded by the Spice Girls.

It the album perfect? No. While I like Lift Me Up, her voice cracking at the beginning really should have been re-recorded. It couldn't have been that hard of a fix. And I don't think You're in a Bubble is much of a song. I wish they'd dumped that one...put Summertime somewhere in the track line-up...and closed out the album with Someone's Watching Over Me.

I actually like her two follow-up albums better than seemingly 95% of fans. But while I think her voice seems more comfortable on the latter two albums (no voice cracks or songs clearly outpacing her abilities), Schizophonic by far feels the most personal.
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post Apr 26 2020, 12:02 AM
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It was good for a 1999 album, but most songs sound so plain and boring nowadays.
I didn't like Mi Chico Latino back then, but now I feel it's one of the album's few highlights.
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sammy01
post Apr 26 2020, 07:25 AM
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Lift me up is an absolute turd, it really is one of the worst songs not just spice girls related.
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vibe
post Apr 26 2020, 09:42 AM
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^ still bitter it beat Emma
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Spiceboy
post Apr 26 2020, 10:28 AM
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Vibe there is really no need to bring Emma into this. This is a thread where people express their opinions about Schizophonic good and bad and we accept them. Can we refrain from bringing any other girls into the discussion thank you.

This post has been edited by Spiceboy: Apr 26 2020, 08:29 PM
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Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 14th July 2020 - 10:15 AM