After their super successful reunion tour and their performance at the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony, it’s safe to say everybody loves the Spice Girls. Maybe they don’t have the most thought provoking songs or songs that changed music history, but you gotta admit they make you feel good. And that’s what their second album seems to be about. These girls want you to get loose and have fun dancing, singing, and hanging out with your best friends. Sure their debut was catchy, but they seem to triple the amount of hooks and melodies that get stuck in your head here.
The album opens with the song meant for partying, “Spice Up Your Life.” With its Latin infused groove and melody, the track is all about dancing til you can’t dance anymore. The girls even mention several dances during song including the moonwalk, hip hop, and polka. And though some of the lyrics might be weird, “Yellow man in Timbuktu/color for both me and you,” it’s just one of those feel good songs that makes you happy and it still sounds great to this day. Apparently, the lyrics were inspired by Bollywood films, but seeing as most listeners probably have never seen an Bollywood movies these references are pretty much lost. Still, it’s one of group’s best songs to date.
The girls take us back to Motown days of the 50’s for “Stop.” Everything from the beat to the melody to the vocal harmonies reminds me of The Supremes. It’s one of those songs that’s kind of cheesy, but it’s so damn catchy that you can’t help but sing along. Again, it’s another track that puts you in a good mood. The girls get sentimental on the ballad “Too Much.” They sound so sweet as they sing “Too much of something is bad enough, but something’s coming over me that makes me wonder.” This is another song that has a vintage vibe; it sounds like something from the Jazz age, especially when the horns come in towards the end. I would say it’s one of their better slow songs because it doesn’t come off as corny.
One song that’s good, but comes off as strange is “Move Over.” It’s edgier than the other songs on the album and it’s bursting with the girl’s not-gonna-take your-shit attitude. But what makes the song weird is that it’s obviously an advertisement for Pepsi. The group did have a sponsorship with the company in the late 90’s and I remember seeing their commercial for it, which had this song. The big hint that this was made for Pepsi is when they sing “Generation Next” because anyone who grew up in the 90’s will tell you that was the company’s slogan at the time. Otherwise, it’s not a bad song, it just feels like it was written with the sponsorship in mind, rather than having the company using a song they’d already written.
The thing that makes this album different from their debut and what makes it more interesting is how every song takes sounds and influences from different eras and styles of music. “Never Give Up on the Good Times” sounds like a cheesy disco song from the 70’s meant to get you moving, while “Saturday Night Divas” has a slinky, sexy R&B groove going on. “Viva Forever” sounds like a tragic Spanish love song with the Flamenco guitars and maracas playing throughout. Thanks to the sound and somber tone, this remains one of the band’s best songs to date. The closing track takes listeners way back to the swinging 20’s as brassy horns flare and throb on “The Lady is a Vamp.” It sounds completely different from anything on their first record, but that’s what makes it so unique and fun.
Overall, the album gets 7.5/10. Again, it’s not the best album ever, but it still holds up and the songs are fun. The tracks still sound great and are sure to put you in a great mood. Listening to the album again reminds me of why I feel in love with the group so many years ago. Also, they deserve a little more credit then they get because they actually had a hand in the songwriting process, which most pop groups didn’t do at the time. Either way, everybody loves the Spice Girls and this album shows why.