Geri Halliwell Passion (Virgin) Chris Briggs sums up the Geri Halliwell effect succinctly when he says: 'You feel an irrational resistance to her.' Coming from her own music manager, you have to wonder why anyone should bother cutting a record it is obvious few will buy. The answer might lie in Halliwell's overblown view of herself. Or it may have to do with marketers whose fingers are now on the panic button because they weren't on the pulse of the pop scene. Probably it's a mixture of both. Halliwell, who could have retired without further ado as Ginger Spice, says in the liner notes to Passion that it's an autobiographical soundtrack to the past four years of her life. She denies herself any dignity, however, by serving up such adolescent laments as Love Never Loved Me, Feel the Fear and So I Give Up on Love. The last is a swipe at her ex-boyfriends. Neither the lyrics nor music improves with time, although it becomes clear Halliwell aimed for a broader cross-audience in her third solo outing since the end of the Spice Girls. Inspired by the jazz and swing of the 1940s and 50s, specifically the music of Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, she opens with a title track that evokes some of the atmosphere of bygone years. Her helium-powered vocals, however, little suit the slow, moody numbers. And there's the rub. Halliwell was a member of the world's most successful female band for a reason. But who above the age of consent still listens to bubblegum pop? And what are we to do with a purpose-made puppet who now insists on pulling her own strings? Perhaps she should heed her own words in Loving Me Back to Life: 'Let it go, learn to live, just forgive and we can grow.'