Spice Girls
Spiceworld


2.5
average

Review

by Amanda Murray STAFF
June 26th, 2006 | 30 replies | 11,012 views


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist


Christmas 1997 was a special time. I'm sure there were the highlights of spending time with family and rejoicing the gift of giving and celebrating Jesus and all the usual crap, but it blends together about a week afterward and is suddenly no longer distinguishable from Christmases past. While enjoyable at the time, those family memories are not what make that Christmas so unforgettable. Instead, it was the gifts. Oh man, the gifts. My father purchased a Playstation 1 for my brothers and I to share, and we each got individually wrapped accessories for the gaming system ' a controller here, a memory card there, and I received the Holy Grail: NHL 1998 (with Peter Forsberg on the cover!). I never imagined those gifts could possibly be bested by anything ' until I got to the next round of presents. For what did unwrapping unveil but a Spice Girls diary, a collection of Spice Girls fake tattoos and stickers, lollipops and bubblegum, and a shrink-wrapped copy of Spiceworld.

The Spice Girls were one of the first groups I ever loved. Likely the first instant where I felt the band was mine, and not something I was listening to because of my older brother (like Oasis), or my parents (the Tragically Hip, John Mellencamp and so on). While it's easy to laugh about now, at the time my friends and I were seriously obsessed. My little brother and I shared a room, and Spice Girls posters ripped from teenybopper magazines plastered the walls. We saw the Spice Girls movie five times in the theatres, purchased the video on the first day of release, performed dance routines to 'Wannabe' at school talent shows, the list goes on. Looking back 10 years after the Spice Girls first took the world by storm, it's hard to see what the big deal was. But man was there ever a big deal.

I've spent the last couple of days listening to their sophomore record Spiceworld over and over, trying to recapture that reverence I initially felt for the girls. While it hasn't inspired me to return to fandom and purchase Mel B's newest solo album or follow the course of Posh Spice's 9th pregnancy, there is some gloriously cheesy, substanceless pop here. I'd say the charm is hidden under the surface, but the music is so one-dimensional and shallow that the surface is all there is too it. All the better. The Spice Girls music isn't meant to be analysed or interpreted for deeper meaning. If anything, the music is just a corollary for their merchandise and image, which is what they were really selling. But if you ignore artistic integrity (or lack thereof), there are capable pop songs here which fulfil their function of supplying a fun, cheesy time for all.

To dwell in the negative for a while, there are many weaknesses which weigh this album down from its bubbly highs. Firstly, there are some ghastly bad songs on this album, especially distressing since there are only 10 tracks here, and one of them is a commercial. The lead single 'Spice Up Your Life' is actually one of the least entertaining songs on the album. The song sounds rather cacophonous and attempts to combine too many layers and the whole thing ends up sounding overblown. In order to not be forever irritated by this song, try not to pay attention to the background or you will want to throw your CD player out the window every time the referee whistle comes in. 'Do It' reminds me of Nsync's similarly-themed lame-fest 'Do Your Thing' and their own pseudo-motivational 'Never Give Up on the Good Times'. People may complain about them being unfit role models for children, but frankly I prefer them singing about sex. Of course the Tipper Gores among us might claim it is about sex anyway. I mean, would you look at that title! Either way the song sucks. And at least 'Never Give Up on the Good Times' has a likable neo-disco backing.

Drawing a card from the mass pile of Spiceworld's flaws, next comes the lyrics. This album would be well served by consisting of instrumental tracks; we wouldn't have to hear juvenile lyrics, and we wouldn't have to hear these girls sing. Win-win. Then again the background whistle will become more prominent' it's not worth it. My point: the lyrics are bad. Take 'Spice Up Your Life' for example, where they sing, 'yellow men in Timbucktu, colour for both me and you. Kung-fu fighting, dancing queen. Tribal spaceman, and all that's in between'. I prefer the 'la, la, la' refrain, myself. This is outdone by 'Denying' and the line, 'check yourself, but don't forget yourself. Haha, check yourself!'. And then there is the genius 'Move Over', where they manage to bouncily shout 'good vibration! Motivation! Domination! Baby nation! Recreation! Imagination! Crazy Nation!' without breaking out in laughter. Personally I lose it at recreation. But no one is listening to this music for the lyrics ' though I will give them one of concession on this point. They do try to include some positive 'girl power' messages in most of their songs, and while it is outweighed by all their outlandishness, at least they're trying. Something their contemporaries never did (see: Britney Spears).

There is also too much reliance on a couple of the girls to handle the majority of the singing duties. Mel C is the most notable, as she is the only one who seems to handle the more difficult parts. Geri has the most personality and sultriness in her voice, and while she doesn't get many lead parts, she uses her moments in the spotlight well. Mel B isn't a great vocalist but she also has a fair bit of personality and stands out. Victoria and Emma may well not have been present during recording, that's how noticeable their parts are.

As for positives, they're aren't many, other than the music being fun and entertaining in its vacuousness. 'Stop' is a thoroughly enjoyable upbeat song, completely carefree and lively. 'Denying' is slinky and almost sexy. The two ballads 'Too Much' and 'Viva Forever' are genuinely great songs. The girls have obviously improved as singers on this record, and can finally pull off more difficult passages with at least an iota of conviction. Still, they'll never win any singing awards and most of the more complex lines are handled by Mel C (Sporty Spice), which can get grating in its invariability. But even with these limitations, they both stand out, particularly 'Viva Forever', which is sincerely a moving song I never would have imagined the Spice Girls could pull off. The album closer 'Lady is a Vamp' is approached playfully and the girls seem to play it lightheartedly, and it works to their benefit. The song is amusing and entertaining. Geri (Sexy/Ginger Spice) especially shines in the song.

Spiceworld isn't a great record, but it is amusing and awash with personality and flair. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone now or twenty years down the road, since the hoopla surrounding the group played such a large role in the enjoyment of the album, and it can't be replicated. But for those of us who were around and participated in the rise of the Spice Girls, it will forever serve as a nostalgic, albeit embarrassing, reminder of our musical growth and development. And some of us are just lame enough to still listen to it ten years later. At least it beats the solo records.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 26th 2006



17920 Comments


amazing review for an annoying group.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 26th 2006



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Wo what a surprise this review is pretty good I guess if you're into the review sort of thing.
This album isn't too bad, better than their first by miles.

The Jungler
June 26th 2006



4827 Comments


I don't remember The Spice Girls craze very well, I probably couldn't remeber more than two songs if someone had a gun to my head. Anyways, great review. Keep reviewing at this pace.

smokersdieyounger
June 27th 2006



672 Comments


I miss all those luminous puffy spice world jackets, and little girls in stupid clothes saying girl power, but only as an excuse to annoy.

Very well written.

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 27th 2006



4405 Comments


I remember... Great review.

Isola
June 27th 2006



421 Comments


Viva Forever is actually a quite enjoyable tune.

Iai
Emeritus
June 27th 2006



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Viva Forever" was one of the best songs of the decade.

I still listen to this fairly regularly, actually. It's a damn good album. Certainly their best.

morrissey
Moderator
June 27th 2006



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah I don't think I emphasised how great "Viva Forever" is.

monkey_dancer
June 27th 2006



127 Comments


Good review here, I'm sure I would understand the album more if I was in the target audience (not good, only bad bands have target audiences this blatantly obvious) at the time, i.e was a girl. I was the right age and all, but I have to say I like it more now than I did at the time! No idea why.

morrissey
Moderator
June 27th 2006



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That's interesting, I've found the Spice Girls to be one of those rare groups that are lenjoyed by both girls and boys in the target age group. But the girls always seemed to be a little more overt about their love for them, heh.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2006



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The movie was better than this though.

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 27th 2006



4405 Comments


^ Is it wrong of me to agree? And I don't hate the album...This Message Edited On 06.27.06

morrissey
Moderator
June 27th 2006



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh man I loved that movie.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2006



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The best part was when they were like "omg we arent playing this show" and then they forced the club manager to get guys with their asses showing. I'm not gay tho.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2006



17920 Comments


i did too. im not ashamed either.

morrissey
Moderator
June 28th 2006



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm surprised this album doesn't get more response, considering how impactful the Spice Girls were for our generation.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2006



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's because we're all busy watching the video for "2 Become 1"

RATMFanatic
June 28th 2006



35 Comments


Oh dear god this brings back alot of bad memories of incredibly bad talent competitions in my school. one year everyone did Spice Girls, the next year it was Brittney Spears, at least i was original and had a fake bar brawl, didn't win mind...This Message Edited On 06.28.06

Rocksta71
June 28th 2006



1023 Comments


Ha ha ha ha! I can't beleive I used to love this group.

badtaste
December 21st 2006



824 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yes surely, Viva Forever makes this album a classic or not. Okay, perhaps not.



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