Emma Bunton

Life in Mono

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Life in Mono was the third album from former Spice Girl and now-grownup Baby Spice, Emma Bunton. Following the album Free Me, on which she even attempted to drop the Spice Girl connotations by simply calling herself Emma, she garnered three Top Ten singles and her second Top Ten album. But what a difference two years can make in the fickle pop industry. It was still looking good when she recorded the annual single for the charity Children in Need in 2006; she took the Petula Clark song "Downtown" to number three, but sung it with a blandness and safety where the original had spark and edginess. Two weeks later, the album was released by the only bandmember left with a recording contract, and disastrously so: it charted at number 65, not the sort of position that a Spice Girl was used to. It's not difficult to hear why it did so badly, for if ever there was a safe album, light and fluffy with almost no substance, this was it. The title track, a cover of the song by trip-hop band Mono, was a mid-tempo easy listening ballad reminiscent of something that might have appeared on a '60s LP by Burt Bacharach or Raymond LeFevre as was "I'm Not Crying Over Yesterdays" and many of the other tracks, including Bunton's naughty take of "Undressing You." The opening track, "All I Need to Know," was released as the first single, apart from the charity outing, and was a sweet ballad, again with little substance and no memorable hook.

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