Not to state the obvious, but the Spice Girls were one of the most famous pop groups of the ‘90s. The quintet’s 1996 debut Spice launched a worldwide girl power movement that extended beyond the pop world. But the band continued its reign even as it ventured into more experimental, theatrical territory on their sophomore effort Spiceworld.
Spiceworld featured all five-band members, Victoria “Posh” Beckham, Emma “Baby” Bunton, Geri “Ginger” Halliwell, Melanie “Scary” Brown and Melanie “Sporty” Chisholm, as they fused pop, R&B, salsa and balladry together. The record would go on to soundtrack their feature film Spice World in 1998 and would continue to build the hype surrounding the pop group.
With the Spice Girls’ sophomore record turning 20 today (Nov. 3), we’re taking a look at it track by track. Perhaps 20 is the magic number for at least four of the five members to reunite for a tour. Let this post serve as encouragement.
“Spice Up Your Life”
As the introduction to Spiceworld, “Spice Up Your Life” showed the quintet going in a sultrier direction. The track served as a rallying cry to dance your troubles away. And who couldn’t do a little of that with some samba and Ginger Spice’s hypnotic vocals?
If you’re looking for Bananarama vibes on Spiceworld, “Stop” delivers those aplenty (along with some ‘60s girl group swaying). While looking for a “human touch,” the Spice Girls had a convincing way of casting their spell on you with “Stop.”
“Too Much” is the slow-burning second single from Spiceworld that shines a light on Sporty Spice’s (much-underrated) soaring vocals. The Spice Girls’ plea for a “man” and not a “boy” makes this doo-wop ballad one of their finest songs.
“Saturday Night Divas”
The third promotional track from Spiceworld, “Saturday Night Divas” paralleled TLC’s “Creep” with a pop edge. When the Spice Girls played with ’90s R&B, they always put a candy-coat on it… even if it’s about boning. To this day, the chant “Get down get deeper and down” still probably haunts you (in a good way).
“Never Give Up On The Good Times”
People often forget how disco-influenced the Spice Girls’ sophomore record was, but it was weaved throughout the 10 tracks. The Spice Girls’ overwhelming positivity radiates through this Donna Summer-esque earworm, emphasizing the bonds that come with having a good time together.
Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi commercial notwithstanding, the brand has enjoyed some legendary artist partnerships. One of the most memorable TV spots featured the Spice Girls donning Pepsi platforms and temporary tattoos while promoting “Generation Next.” It was the perfect anthem for the Gen Y, plus it gave the five-piece a chance to reveal their rapping skills.
If there was a Spice Girls song that could serve as the epitome of the ‘90s, “Do It” would be that song. The airy positive-pop vocals over R&B melodies somehow make the Spice Girls seem like life coaches even 20 years later. Some of the best lessons in life were invented by Spice Girls songs. Case in point: “Don’t just do the right thing to be pleasing.”
“Denying” always seemed to be the companion piece to Spice’s “Say You’ll Be There” (not just because of the funk-synth opening). And it probably wasn’t a coincidence. By this point, it was clear the Spice Girls were saying “ciao” to their denying, lying lover.
As the record’s final single, “Viva Forever” was like the Spice Girls trying their hand at Sade with a fusion of Latin percussion and the vision of a cheesy romance novel. But it worked, and the Spice Girls made a five-minute epic song about living in the moment, but also moving on.
“The Lady Is A Vamp”
The conclusion of Spiceworld seemed to come out of nowhere with “The Lady Is A Vamp.” A jazzy, Broadway show tune, “The Lady Is A Vamp” is fitting when considering Spice World came out a few months later. Who can forget the Spice Girls reciting their names and doing their best Elvis impersonations?