Spice Girls – Spice (1996)

Spice Girls – Spice (1996)

Though I’d say my favourite Spice Girls songs are “Spice Up Your Life” and “Too Much”, which are both on their second album Spiceworld (1997), you can’t go past their first album Spice for a non-stop pop-fest. (NB: By the time I’ve finished writing this – having listened to both again – I think I like Spiceworld more). In July 1996, with the single “Wannabe”, the girls hit the scene like Godzilla (if Godzilla was a massively marketed corporate girl-group in platform boots and Union Jack miniskirt). They were like Beatlemania & the Sex Pistols & the Village People all rolled into one, transcending the mere music to become pop icons. They were easy to hate, but hard not to like – they were designed to be loveable. You had five characters to choose a fave from (Scary). And the music was fun. R&B grooves (“Last Time Lover” and “Something Kinda Funny”); revamped disco (“Who Do You Think You Are?”); and the gals even sang a ballad for Mum (“Mama”). So I can admit it now: ‘Hi, my name is Decoy, and I’m a Spice Girls fan’. They were a hipflask in the pocket of many reformed pop-oholics, and I now stand by it as a perfect example of 90s pop; catchy upbeat melodies with clean breezy harmonies. I dig the trading-off of lines between the girls – (in descending order of vocal ability) Sporty’s signature soar; Baby’s icing-sugar lilt, Scary’s punchy faux-reggae-rap, Ginger’s cheeky Monroe thing, and Posh couldn’t really sing, but was still an important part of the group strut. Who cares if the Spice Girls were a transparent construct of the corporate music industry and the tabloid media? Girl Power was quite endearing and sweet looking back now. And I already feel nostalgic for that time, the late 90s, pre-Paris Hilton, when a 56k modem was still faster than a 28k modem, when things seemed somehow more innocent. Which is revisionist thinking, I know. But this is one of my favourite soundtracks for those happily self-delusional occasions. On those nights, I crave simplicity, I just really really really wanna zig-a-zig ahh…


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