Album in Depth: Spice by Spice Girls

So… Hi everyone again. And after the most stressful 5 months of my life, time comes around again and it’s CLASS BREAK!… for about 3 weeks. Damn, I was hoping to, you know, rest a little longer. I can’t stand classes anymore…

Anyhow, once I decided to do a once-a-day marathon reviewing albums released by Weird Al in a single one of his polkas and it didn’t turn out okay (it was the first time I had to go to the doctor for stress caused by an album, dead fucking serious), so after much consideration… neh, fuck it, I’m doing it again. Clearly I’m a better person.

So yeah, the only reviewer whose series abbreviation is a frightful disease is back, with his AIDs! Album in Depth is back baby (if only for a short period of time).

And again, since there are 10 Weird Al polkas, I decided to roll a d10 to decide which one was it and guess what? It rolled a 7! Polka Power, which is definitely my favorite one, is the chosen one.

Why is this my favorite? Because I grew up in the nineties, and this one is the masters collections of the nineties. So, for the next two weeks, get ready to listen to some shitty 90s music, because this is all it is. What’s the first one?

…I regret this already. So, for you who is under 20 years old, who the fuck were the spice girls? A little background is required:

The year is 1996. Independence Day was the top grossing movie of the year, followed by Twister, showing how shitty that year was for the movies. Pokemon is released in green and red for the gameboys and Mario is seen in 3d for the first time in Super Mario 64. Weird Al releases Bad Hair Day (which had the Alternative Polka, fun song) and Gene Kelly sadly passes away.

Boy bands were something already beaten to death, so the natural response would be to do something entirely new. Just kidding, they just used the same shtick and gender reversed it. So, some dicks from management decided to create a female boy band (a girl band, if you would). Now, what I think is completely and utterly amazing about this story is the ad that they placed in the magazine The Stage after girls for the group. This is integral and funny as fuck:

WANTED: R.U. 18–23 with the ability to sing/dance? R.U. streetwise, outgoing, ambitious, and dedicated? Heart Management Ltd. are a widely successful music industry management consortium currently forming a choreographed, singing/dancing, all-female pop act for a recording deal. Open audition. Danceworks, 16 Balderton Street. Friday 4 March. 11 am-5:30 pm. Please bring sheet music or backing cassette“.

Don’t you feel 90’s oozing through it? And I love the outcome of this shitty ad: 400 women showed up for the “part”. They were separated, tested: in other words, American Idol, but without a speck of dignity or humanity. So… American Idol.

So, we have these 5 girls, picked after what cannot be called anything other than a job interview, chosen with marketing standards, on this group. Victoria Adams (now Victoria Beckham, the Posh Spice), Melanie Brown (Scary Spice), Emma Burton (Baby Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice), Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) and Terry Crews (Old Spice)… but without Terry Crews, which would’ve made the group so much more awesome.

Now, what I want you to realize is that nicknaming the people of the group with different prenames + spice is ridiculous even for boy band standards. Timberlake and friends (also known as N’Sync) would have laughed their ass off if that idea was presented to them… before the buttload of success that was Spice Girls debut Spice.

That album was huge! It’s 7 times platinum in New Zealand, in other words, Ratin8tor has it (probably). It was deemed one of the best albums released in the genre and is one of the best-selling albums ever, in between Grease’s soundtrack and Bon Jovi’s… “Slippery when Wet”, that must be the worst album never in the history of the world. It clocks 40:07, which is actually pretty decent, with the longest running song being “Mama” with 5:03 and strangely their most famous song, “Wannabe”, as their shortest, with 2:53, which is also pretty decent. So, without further ado, this is Spice by the Spice Girls.

1st track: “Wannabe” – The album starts with their most famous song, Wannabe, that really embodies everything that the Spice Girls were trying to appear to be: strong, independent, friendly women, who prioritized friends before boyfriends (the old Bros Before Hoes switcheroo). Here’s the deal, though: I really like this song. I don’t know what it is, it’s just so carefree and dancy and poppy that it feels like dancing. The lyrics are simple, the vocals are… not exactly bad, but there’s that artificial aroma in the air, for sure.

2nd track: “Say You’ll Be There” – Hey! I remember this song! It’s Spice Girls? Awesome! It’s actually a pretty good dance R&B song. I wasn’t aware it was theirs. It’s pretty funky, poppy, well sung to boot and has a harmonica solo. Complaints gravitate toward the lack of real instruments beside the harmonica, the clumsy lyrics and the few attempts to look “street”, with the short rap riff performed by Scary Spice, the… street spice girl… that’s… kind of racist, but I won’t go that road.

3rd track: “2 Become 1” – Time for sex ballad. It’s slow, kind of sloppy, tad boring, but okay overall. What I would like to bring forth is that this song apparently was praised for its pro-contraceptive message. Just to make clear, “Be a little wiser, baby/Put it on, Put it on” could be anything. It could be about condom, as well as for the sex itself. It’s not a bad song, it’s another one I remember from my youth, but… meh, it’s not like the last two.

4th track: “Love Thing” – Clumsy lyrics! It’s another street cred song, I think it’s a scary spice song, and this shows the most prominent error with this group (and in particular most boy bands): their voices aren’t exactly distinguishable. Of course there’s always that fan that goes “okay, this is obviously Old Spice singing, you can hear his abs doing back vocals, while his biceps play the castanets”, but in reality, I’m one of the select few that can distinguish Lennon from McCartney, because I’m a Beatles fan. Back to the song: It’s a ballad similar to 2 become 1, and it’s not bad, it’s just kind of okay. It has quality, but the clumsy lyrics kind of screw the whole deal, in reality. Not bad lyrics, just… bad placed lyrics.

5th track: “Last Time Lover” – I thought I was going to get out of this experience with less than serious scars. Although that still happens to be true, this song is horrendous. It has an awesome bass line, but that’s about it. All that the Spice Girls had is completely ruined by this song. And that sentence kind of cost my masculinity. Spice Girls was all about jumpy dancy songs. Doing a tame sorrowful song… that still manages to have the scary spice doing a rap song… and that’s still racist. Let’s focus on the bass. It’s cool, it’s slick, it’s stylish. However, all else fails in comparison… and anyway, who listens to Spice Girls after good bass riffs?

6th track: “Mama” – Could you make a song more appealing to adolescents than a song addressing lack of communication between daughter and mother? Of course it’s going to be a good song: it is a good song. But it’s abusing a feeling that everyone can relate, and in a way everyone has done it. It’s no “Father and Son”, jus’ saying. It’s a tame ballad, and it should be put into consideration. I kind of remember it from my wee years as a kid, but not sufficiently. With simple vocalization, a gospel choir and a cool instrumentation, this song should be listened again.

7th track: “Who Do You Think You Are” – Disco’s not dead, apparently. Funky Disco by the by. This song is wrecked, though, by the conversational vocals that doesn’t show any real contrast between the vocals, and the lack of knowing when to fucking stop and let the song die, this song takes forever to go away. And it doesn’t bring anything new to the style. At least it’s dancy enough to be kind of enjoyable.

8th track: “Something Kinda Funny” – Another dated song. It sounds like something that is already in this album… and meh, it’s a bad to average song. I like how every time they sing the title, I think “something kinda funky” which would be a better song, actually. But no, it’s another love song. The only exception to that rule so far is Mother, which is about love, but not the love I’m talking about, if you know what I mean.

9th track: “Naked” – You know when you find online an amateur porno that has gone terribly wrong? The guy is fat, the girl is old, the production quality is horrid, they are filming with an old Nokia cell and the only thing you can really make out of the mess is the guy’s butt going up and down rhythmically… oh yeah, by the way, +18. See, this is that song. It obviously was meant to be sexy and hot and steamy. It’s so fucking not that it would dry up a nun (again… +18). It’s badly sung by female Austin Powers… it’s a bad song. The biggest flaw (or maybe only saving grace, since it’s kind of funny) is that it tries to pretend that it’s not about sex: it’s about a girl that was stripped from innocence and now is a world girl, that knows what she wants and bullshit, it’s so not about that. They know it, we know it, it’s a sex tape gone wrong.

10th track: “If U Can’t Dance” – Really? After all this work, they still haven’t realized that you can be black and still rap badly? The girl can’t rap. It was obviously written by white people, and she’s obviously completely embarrassed by the lyrics, and the song tries to be hip hop and urban music, but… again, it’s in a bad artificial way. The chorus is bland, but I have to admit that out of the rapping bits, the vocals are on their best through the entire album. So, it’s kind of a check out song, if you can ignore the obvious staring at your face flaws.

So, overall, how did it hold up? Well, honestly, I thought I was going to hate it more, and not only was it kind of a blast from the past, I caught myself mini-dancing while listening to the tracks. Wannabe is good, Mama is good, Say You’ll Be There is actually a great song… so, yeah, this album deserves a bit more credit, I guess, even though it’s kind of pop trash. Just stay away from Something Kinda Funny and Naked.

This is JotaKa, signing off.

(By the by, two things:

Next album review will probably be up tomorrow, it’s Harvey Danger’s – Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone?. I don’t remember anything outside of Flagpole Sitta, but I have the album in my possession, being the last of the 14 to do so.

And second: it has been over a year since my last Album in Depth. Wow. I’m really impressed by that. And this is my AID debut in ME, so that’s that. Hope the site will do good to the series.)

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