Time has been kind to Geri Horner (formerly Halliwell), though it's not surprising. The Watford native came to prominence as a member of the pop quintet the Spice Girls―one of the most seminal girl groups of all time. Horner left the group in May 1998 and recorded three albums between 1999 and 2005, all of which have held up. Each effort platformed her keen songwriting, placing her somewhere between the pop pithiness of Cathy Dennis and the majesty of Kirsty MacColl.
Despite the prime caliber of her solo efforts, Horner has been slow to return to the popular music scene, primarily due to her taking time out for her family. She briefly broke her silence with the limited single release of “Half of Me” in the Australian market in 2013. It would be the passing of her close friend/mentor George Michael last year that catalyzed Horner's commitment to finally step back into a bazaar that had more than changed its face since she last left it.
“Angels in Chains” is a reflective, piano-led ballad written by Horner and produced by Chris Porter, one of Michael's longtime collaborators. Additional members of Michael's “music tribe” that appear on the song include three of his mainstay backing vocalists (Shirley Lewis, Lucy Jules, Jay Henry), his guitarist Phil Palmer and musical director Chris Cameron. Horner herself is vocally astute, her tone warm and sincere throughout. All proceeds from the song's sale will go to one of Michael's favorite charities, Childline.
Confirmation of steady work on her much anticipated fourth album has come from the former Spice Girl recently, but the tone of the record remains unclear. For some, “Angels in Chains” may be considered too somber a re-entry for Horner, despite her being no stranger to the ballad form. But Horner has always been herself when it comes to her art. That's a strength, not a weakness, especially given the current homogenous climate of pop today.
Listen to "Angels in Chains" below.
UPDATE (6/21): The video for "Angels in Chains" is now available to watch below.
For a more detailed view on Geri Horner's music, check out my book Record Redux: Spice Girls―the definitive guide to the music of the British pop quintet, which is available physically here and digitally here.
DOWNLOAD/BUY Geri Horner’s “Angels in Chains” via iTunes