The former Baby Spice is just Emma now for her second solo CD. It’s been a long way getting here, from getting dumped by Virgin to Simon Fuller setting up 19 Records just to get her CD out. Free Me is an album filled with pleasant tunes reminiscent of some sultry 1960’s James Bond movie soundtrack where the sun is warm, the women are seductive, and the trumpets and saxophones make erotic music. The title track as well as tracks like I’ll Be There and Tomorrow could be right at home next to Louis Armstrong’s All the Time in the World.
But while music to drink tequila to under the sun is always a good thing, Emma’s voice lacks any distinguishing factor to remain in one’s attention. She gets lost in the instrumentation too easily, so much so that the listener can just tune out the music and fall asleep to the pleasant music playing in the background of her mind. That’s a pity because tracks like the really good Breathing deserve to be sung by someone with more charisma than her.
In the hands of someone else, Free Me will be a fine album to greet summer with. As it is, this is a CD of pleasant music that, try as they might, cannot rise above background noise level.