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The Dartmouth
June 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Spiceworld: 'Say You Won't Be There': 'Spiceworld' follows the premiere of group's self-titled debut album

When you eat spicy food, the saying goes, expect it to repeat itself on you. That said, those ten million listeners that ignored this bit of wisdom and gobbled down the Spice Girl's debut album earlier this year can be blamed for the explosion of flatulence that hit record stores last week.

That's right.

The Spice Girls already have a new album, "Spiceworld," and predictably, too much of a bad thing is still a bad thing.

In what is surely one of the seven signs of the apocalypse, the Spice Girls have become global superstars this year, and the self-proclaimed gurus of "girl power" have been flooding the market with Spice stuff.

Two albums in one year, Spice dolls, a Pepsi commercial, and a movie on the way, there is absolutely no way of avoiding these five hyperactive English pop tarts.

With their trashy look, slickly-produced pop songs, dubious musical pedigree and obnoxious public personas, it is no wonder that rock critics despise them.

They embody a highly commercial cheesiness not evident in popular music celebrities since the heydays of M.C. Hammer and Vanilla Ice.

Critics take particular offense with the group's "girl power" talk, noting that the girls' rodeo clown outfits and Jenny McCarthy facial expressions would probably make young girls ashamed of their gender rather than proud of it.

To add more fuel to the fire, the Spice Girl's music is as canned as it gets. None of the members have distinct voices, and together they still sound as thin as Paula Abdul.

Their new record does nothing to correct this belief, as the group offers up ten versions of rehashes from their last release.

None of the tracks, with the exception of the catchy first single "Spice Up Your Life", catches fire. The girls seem to be trying to dabble in different sounds (some salsa here, some lite funk there), but they water down the spirit of their borrowings and fail to commit themselves to anything other than recycled mid tempo pop grooves.

Lyrically the songs are predictably anorexic, but no one expects clever wordplay from the Spice Girls. Boys and girls seeking an intelligent young female voice to fixate on probably already have Fiona Apple's record anyway.

Still, the writing on this record is inexcusably lazy, especially on "Move Over:" "Move over yeah, don't do it over (Yeah, yeah, yeah) / Cause it's over yeah yeah yeah (Don't do it over)." Yeah yeah yuck!

What you want but won't get from this album is transcendent pop music. The girls actually accomplished this with their last album's "Say You'll Be There" which was, although too-cool Spice Girls Haters would be loathe to admit it, pretty damn catchy.

None of the tracks on "Spiceworld" are as successful as that one, and the group's slogan-filled lyrics, flat voices and uninspired arrangements combine for a joyless listening experience.

Ironically enough, what the Spice Girl's music could use is a little more spice. More soulful singing, funkier soundscapes, sharper lyrics ... anything that would lift their tunes out of the zone of mediocrity that they are mired in would be much appreciated.

While it is easy to totally slag off the Spice Girls, it should be noted that they are partly responsible for pop music's comeback in recent years. While this is good news for anyone that has groaned about the long line of Nirvana sound-alikes that have overtaken radio waves for most of the 1990s, the Spice Girls are obviously enjoying more attention than they deserve.

The group is all about surfaces, which would not be so unforgivable if their music were more clever and the girls themselves were less tacky. Plenty of image-conscious artists are still able to make artistically successful records, and anyone that doubts this should try Janet Jackson's latest.

What the Spice Girls latest record proves is that making danceable pop music is not as easy as it seems. The fivesome promise a hot, sexy time, but their product is about as enticing as a frosty glass of Peptol Bismol. Let's hope that the Spice Girls wait more than a year for their next musical outing.