WEEK 1: SPICE by Spice Girls (1996)
I grew up in the 90’s. It was the time when boybands dominated the charts: There’s Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, Boyzone, Take That, East 17, 911, 5ive and many more who disappeared after one or two albums. My classmates had a crush in every boyband and we copied their dance moves. I also made it a point to watch MTV or Channel V so I can catch their music videos (Kids, YouTube didn’t exist back then). – Then one day, five ladies with different personalities appeared on MTV. They were serenading some guests in this high-class London hotel as if they’re doing their Christmas caroling rounds. The song is less three minutes long, but the energy exudes onscreen and they sang ‘friendship never ends’. – WHO ARE THESE GIRLS?!?
The debut single of the five girls who were simply having fun and having the time of their lives topped the charts that year. The song title is “Wannabe” and it was sung and performed by the Spice Girls – Scary, Baby, Ginger, Posh and Sporty are here. My life is going to change for the better!
WANNABE: THE BEST FIRST SINGLE
“I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want!”
“I wanna really, really, really wanna zig-a-zig ah!”
“If you wanna be my lover, you got to get with my friends”
“Make it last forever… friendship never ends!”
Wannabe became the dance anthem towards the end of 1996. You either love them or hate them. I remember that I had a friend who told me that the Spice Girls were actually drag queens. I said “Who cares? I love their song!”. – It is one of those songs that sticks to your mind. In modern times’ term, it can be your Last Song Syndrome or LSS.
The easy choreography makes it a favorite in dance presentations in schools and parties. Even within that music video, you can see that Victoria, Emma, Geri, Mel B and Mel C are five different girls with different personalities. But when they’re together, there’s a certain spark and magic that you can’t really explain. It’s like watching The Beatles – only this time, they’re women.
SAY YOU’LL BE THERE: A PROOF THEY’RE NOT JUST ‘ONE HIT WONDERS’
You can’t blame people for thinking that the Spice Girls might be ‘one hit wonders’. First of all, the pop charts were dominated by boy bands and most girl groups before them might be talented singers and dancers, but they don’t have “it”. They don’t have the star appeal and the personality to stand out from the crowd and be remembered. – “Say You’ll Be There” is the second single of the Spice Girls which was shot in a desert.
When this particular song reached the top of the charts worldwide, it was already evident that the five girls from Great Britain are destined to conquer the world with their awesomeness. – FYI: Did you know that David Beckham first got attracted to Victoria when he saw her as ‘Midnight Miss Suki’ in the SYBT music video?
2 BECOME 1: TEACHING ‘SAFE SEX’ IN A SUBTLE WAY
If I am not mistaken, this song was released in time for Christmas in the UK. This is the Spice Girls teaching us about safe sex by saying that we have to ‘be a little wiser, put it on, put it on’.
As ladies in their early twenties back then, they knew what younger girls and boys are going through particularly when it comes to making love. This is them saying it in a much more subtler way as possible. It also helps that they changed the lines ‘any deal that we endeavor, boys and girls feel good together’ to ‘once again if we endeavor, love will bring us back together’ to be more inclusive to the LGBTQ community. For me, this is one of the best songs of the Spice Girls. Timeless indeed!
MAMA: AN ICONIC MOTHER’S DAY ANTHEM
The Spice Girls already made a mark in the Mother’s Day Hall of Fame for singing one of the most celebrated Mother’s Day theme of all-time : “Mama”! – I remember singing this song to my mum when I was a little girl. Honestly, I can relate to the lyrics of the song even more now that I am in my early 30’s. It was also touching when the Spice Girls performed “Mama” with their little children in tow during The Return of the Spice Girls Tour in 2007. Despite several controversies the girls faced as individual artists post-Spice Girls, you cannot deny that they’re good mothers to their children. Bless them.
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? SOME KIND OF SUPERSTAR?
“Swing it, shake it, move it, make it, Who do you think you are?”
I really, really love this song especially as a kid. For some reason, it became a confidence booster especially whenever I am bullied in school. What I’d do is I’d go to the loo and just sing and dance to this song in front of the mirror just to shake the negativity off. When the music video of the song was released, I was beyond happy. It is vibrant, full of life and energy! I love these girls!
THE OTHER SONGS + LEGACY OF ‘SPICE’
“If You Can’t Dance” is the perfect finale for the album yet the best intro when the girls embarked on their first world tour. – What I love most about the SPICE album is the positivity of the whole album. I had rough times during my childhood and instead of sulking in one corner or doing something destructive, I diverted my attention to this album and by honing my dancing and singing skills which were of course, inspired by the girls (Hello, Adele! I know you can relate!).
I also have a Spice Girls collection. In fact, I learned to use the internet in order to have access to the latest news, photos and gifs of the girls. Those were fun times! Since the Spice Girls emerged in the scene, more girl bands were launched which includes All Saints, B*Witched, Solid Harmonie, Girl Thing, Dream, Destiny’s Child and many more! – So, who was your favorite Spice Girl as a kid? Who is your favorite Spice Girl now?
This article originally appeared in Vibbidi’s Spice Girls Narrative page.