Music review: Emma Bunton - ’My Happy Place’

Looking to add a little spice to your daily routine? The new release from Emma Bunton should do the trick nicely.

Bunton, better known as Baby Spice of the Spice Girls, drops her fourth studio album and first since 2006’s “Life in Mono.”

“My Happy Place” offers 10 sugar-sweetened pop arrangements featuring the 43-year-old singer covering eight of her personal favorite songs as well as recording two new original compositions.

Co-written by Bunton, “Baby Please Don’t Stop” opens with a playful and sexy vibe as Bunton sings about unexpectedly falling in love by confessing, “I’m not the infatuation kind/But it happened from the moment I met you.”

Bunton also shares the writing credits on the breakup track “Too Many Teardrops,” a smooth throwback to the glory days of Motown with Bunton sounding like a young Diana Ross.

“I Only Want to Be with You” pairs Bunton with Will Young on this elegant acoustic cover that deliberately slows down the pace in contrast to the versions recorded by Dusty Springfield in 1964 and Bay City Rollers in 1976.

Bunton returns to familiar ground when she is joined by English pop star Robbie Williams for a high-spirited performance of “2 Become 1” from the Spice Girls.

The classic Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell number “You’re All I Need to Get By” gets a fresh infusion of love from Bunton and her beau Jade Jones. Originally written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, the remake does a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of true love and commitment to another.

“Come Away with Me” finds Bunton channelling the enchanting vocal style of Norah Jones and a cover of “Emotion” by the Bee Gees features Bunton sounding like vintage Olivia Newton-John.

For “Don’t Call Me Baby” by the Australian duo Madison Avenue, Bunton strips away the electronic dance beat and turns it into a celebration of female empowerment as Bunton sternly sings, “You know I don’t belong to you/It’s time you knew I’m not your baby/I belong to me.”

The album comes to a sentimental close with a charming version of George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun,” the song playing when her son was born.

“My Happy Place” is a guilty pleasure you will want to visit again and again.

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