I guess since my birthday is next week I’m feeling a little nostalgic, so I felt like listening to some Spice Girls. Now I didn’t go into this album expecting something ground breaking or unique, but I just thought it would be a fun album to revisit. Also, it’s now cool to like the Spice Girls, so this review is for any Spice fans out there! The album is basically full of catchy pop tunes about being with friends and having fun, but there are quite a number of songs about sex and manipulating men.
The wildly popular single “Wannabe” opens up the album and if anything it’s still catchy to this day. Anyone who use to listen to the song back in the day will start singing as soon as it starts. You can’t help but sing along! Not only will you want to sing, you’ll want to dance too. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best dancer on the block or the worst, you will still get up and move when this song comes on. The only thing about the song that’s weird are the lyrics. “If you wanna be my lover you gotta get with my friends.” What? So, you want this guy to sleep with your friends too? I’m sure they meant you gotta be cool with her friends (at least I hope), but it just comes out wrong.
“Say You’ll Be There” is another song you’ll burst out singing no matter where you are. It’s a feel good song that’s easy to dance to, but again the lyrics are a bit confusing. I don’t really know what the song is about. I read that it’s supposed to be about being your own person, but I don’t hear any of that here. Regardless, it’s still a damn catchy song. The next track “2 Become 1” is a little deceiving. It starts out sounding sweet with the soft, twinkling music. Even the girls sound sweet as they’re singing softly. Everything is going well until you get to the chorus, which mentions “making love.” And we were singing this when we were young? It’s not the most explicit song to sing when you’re a kid, but it’s still not wholly appropriate. You gotta give it to the band, they make sex sound so innocent.
Most of the songs are catchy and are dance driven, which makes the record fun for the most part. That isn’t to say that some of the songs are cheesy. “Mama” is suppose to be a sweet song for all the mothers out there about how much we love them even though we can be brats. Really, it’s just corny, but the more you listen to it the sweeter it becomes. It’s like it’s so corny it becomes sweet. “Love Thing” is another song that feels corny. Maybe it’s the weird hip-hop music that sounds like it’s from the early 90’s or the weird rap in the middle of the song, but it’s not as good as the other tracks.
Another thing that gets cheesy about the album is how often they mention friendship. A line like “friendship never ends” makes it seem like they knew their target audience was 12 year old girls who thought they would have the same friends forever. I guess because I’ve grown up and grown more jaded the message just seems corny. It’s still a positive message to have in a song, but it gets kind of annoying with how often they mention it. Along with the theme of friendship, the girls constantly mention girl power. If they don’t outright say it they at least reference it through songs about strong women not letting men control their lives. They may not say it in the strongest way, but it’s still a positive theme for the record.
What really surprised me about the album is how much the girls mention sex. When I was little the only song I knew was about sex was “Last Time Lover,” I mean it’s pretty much in the title. This song is just down right dirty. It’s full of sexual innuendos that we were too young too understand, some sly giggling and even some moaning in the background. I guess this is the Spice Girls trying to be sexy, but they don’t succeed, but it’s catchy at least.
I already mentioned the sex found in “2 Become 1,” but I feel “Naked” is another seemingly sexual song. I always thought this song was strange and even made me feel a bit uncomfortable. This feeling grew more when the band performed this song on their pay-per-view concert naked in chairs. Anyway, the “sultry” spoken word parts makes me think the girls were going for a “Justify my Love” feel, which they are nowhere near. It’s not a horrible song, just strange. Plus, Mel C (Sporty Spice) tries way too hard to sound soulful here.
Overall, the album gets 7.5/10. If you’re looking for a really good pop record with well written songs and meaningful lyrics, then this isn’t the album for you. But if you want something that’s fun and danceable then pick this up. The songs are catchy, the music makes you want to dance, and most of the songs are just fun. It may not be the greatest album to come out of the 90’s, but you have to admit the Spice Girls aren’t the most terrible pop band that came out of this era. Plus, they co-wrote all of these songs, which is an interesting fact. This is a great pick me up if you’re feeling down or if you just want to go back to 1996 and relive some memories.