1997, Music

Spiceworld (1997) by The Spice Girls

No, I have not seen the movie. (Actually, I may have seen parts of it…)

Is this ever a top heavy album. I only remember 3 of the 4 hit singles but all three of those songs are over within 9 or 10 minutes. That doesn’t auger well for the rest of the record.

As with so much pop music of my teens, I absolutely hated this when it came out. But unlike some of it, I definitely watched the videos because I was 16 and women were dancing on TV. (I was partial to Mel C for her voice – the best of the lot by, well, a lot – and Geri Halliwell, but I couldn’t admit either to my friends because “Mel C” was the “ugly” one and Geri was “fat.” Never forget: teenage boys are pigs.)

I can’t help but think the three songs I remember are the best ones but, upon listening to “Spice Up Your Life” a few times as an adult, I think it’s definitely the least strong of the three. The other two are shockingly retro now that I have a context to place them in. But I guess that’s why they work.

The rest of the record, including the fourth single, is more miss than hit but I understand why this was popular: here we have five (mostly?) strong women singing lyrics they mostly wrote that have an empowering message (relatively speaking) not heard too often before. Though I don’t love the lyrics, I do think they are the reason why women and girls gravitated to this record. I’m probably speaking from a position of ignorance, but I don’t know how much precedence there was in mainstream pop music, certainly among “girl groups.”

But the attempted musical diversity doesn’t work for me – particularly the “urban” track – though I think it elevates it above some pop music, and the typical British campiness is a little much.

I will never listen to this again. But at least it’s not awful.


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