Thursday, March 13, 2008

10 Years On: What the Spice Girls Mean to Me

Of all the artists that I have been a fan of, none have had the same effect on me as the Spice Girls have. Emma Bunton, Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell, and Victoria Beckham have been my music heroines since I was 13.

They carried me through those awkward formative teen years, and kept me balanced in my young adulthood. Musically, they've nourished my passion in pop (the genre itself) and opened a door to the European and British singers that now line my CD shelves. Besides their colorful exterior, a mixture of sex appeal and fun, the Girls have simply concocted good pop music for over a decade. Their 10 year marker was two years prior in 2006, but today marks the day I bought my first record ever, the Spiceworld (1997) LP at the tender age of 13. I've been a fan since. That fall evening in 1997 when "Spice Up Your Life" danced across the airwaves and I hadn't (still haven't) heard anything like it. The brilliant energy and call-to-arms perfection of unity through diversity. The splashy vocal work from the Girls, the witty, tongue-in-cheek lyrics. What an anthem. "Flamenco! Lambada! But hip-hop is harder! We moonwalk the foxtrot! Then polka the salsa! Shake, shake, shake! HAKA! " I was forever captivated, going from casual radio listener to intrigued Spice Girls fan.

Unlike a lot of my other favorite artists, the Girls were the first musical influence that came wholly from my own interest. That sprung from their music abilities, they had the inescapable hooks and strong verses, the vocal blend. Themes of positive self-image and being an individual resonated with me.

Even when they retreated back to the more successful grounds of England during the "Solo Years," I grew with them. Geri's flirtation with Euro-pop confections such as "Calling" or "Desire" were aural treats. How about when Emma Bunton threw herself into vintage 1960's pop on her last two LPs, Free Me (2004) and Life In Mono (2006)?  Melanie C would get the critical accolades as she started her own record imprint Red Girl Records to release her third and fourth records independently. Even Victoria and Melanie B, whose offerings tended to be mixed, had fortune with certain albums or singles. How could these women not be regarded as musical entities, when they built a decade long career out of it?

With the successful reformation of all five last June and the Return of the Spice Girls Tour which just winded down last month (I saw them in N.Y.C. on 2/6/08), the women who took that stage did it with something special. It was prowess, an attitude, they made history. It's difficult for me to write about the Girls because they're tied to me in a very personal way. I just wanted to take today into observance because if it wasn't for them, I probably wouldn't be doing this at all. To me, the Girls represent hard work and strength in the face of adversity. Thanks for 10 years of music Girls, here is for 10 more.-QH


Mickey Glitter said...

Nice post, Q. I have some fond memories of the Spice Girls, too, though they tend to circle around one babysitting job I had years ago and the wee lad I was babysitting. =)

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