Spice Girls (kinda) Mixtape
In a comment on a recent mixtape post, someone claimed that they were disappointed that there was no Spice Girls and that it was “full of real music”. I can’t claim to be a real Spice Girls fan but I was sure that there must be some actually properly good songs in their back catalogue and so I decided to go on a little hunt.
I have now listened to more Spice Girls songs in the last 24 hours than I had in my entire life up to this point, the big hits, the obscure B-sides and album tracks. Then I headed off to look at tracks from the girls solo releases and cover versions of spice songs, and the result is…
The result is that I, incredibly surprisingly to me, came up with a list of pretty decent songs far too long to put in one mixtape and have had to trim it down a bit.
I actually also ended up writing an essay length post about why the Spice Girls were important, how they defied the predictable criticism that girl groups are/were manufactured by men and about how Wannabe is a feminist classic paving the way for the expression of female sexuality. Then I decided that this wasn’t the place to post all of that and that what really mattered was the music.
Never Be the Same Again by Melanie C
There are a lot of Melanie C solo efforts on this list, and there are reasons for that. It’s hard to deny that she is the most naturally talented singer of the quintet, but she also seems the least afraid to take risks musically and not to try to conform to some kind of post Spice Girls image.
Never Be the Same Again was a single from her debut solo album Northern Star, featuring the late Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes from TLC and it pointed the way towards a whole new musical direction for the versatile Miss C.
Anymore by Melanie C
Skip forward 17 years and there is a distinctly different but equally interesting sound to Melanie’s solo efforts.
In her own words: “It was just nice to experiment and do something different. You know, music has changed so much. It’s good to evolve and my tastes have evolved and that’s what I wanted for the record. It’s good old me but the modern, new and improved version.”
What I am by Tin Tin Out ft. Emma Bunton
Originally written and recorded by Edie Brickell, Tin Tin Out’s version of the song is far more memorable.
It’s ridiculously catchy and nostalgic and feel good, Emma’s vocal performance feels a little bit phoned in or singing by numbers, but that doesn’t stop it from being a fantastic track.
There is also a pretty great garage remix of the track by K Warren, which you can check out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpS2plFAXpw
Take Me Home
The first Spice Girls proper track on the list and it is one I had never heard before last night. Take Me Home was the B-side to the single Say You’ll Be There and I think I like it.
This is not your standard Spice Girls fare, it’s somehow darker and more subversive, as if it wouldn’t be out of place as part of the soundtrack of a low budget horror movie.
Stop by Lisa Mitchell
It’s a bit of a leap from the slightly seedy sound of Take Me Home to this pure and innocent sounding interpretation of Stop by Lisa Mitchell.
Lisa released an EP of ‘nostalgic 90’s pop songs’ covers. Stop and Every You Every Me, originally by Placebo are the standouts.
Say You’ll Be There by MØ
For whatever reason MØ (pronounced Moo) didn’t feature in our recent Danish mixtape…
It’s not because she doesn’t have a lot of talent though, she may not be someone that I’d listen to a lot but I think this is easily one of the best Spice Girls covers you will ever lay ears on and one which surpasses the original song.
Last Time Lover
Another Spice Girls song that is not typical Spice Girls, it’s a bit urban and a bit funky, in fact it sounds a lot more like TLC than the Spices. It’s also got a pretty bloody excellent bass line.
Hold On – Melanie C ft. Alex Francis
Compiling a Spice(ish) Mixtape really was a journey of discovery. Not only did I learn that Mel C has over the years released really quite a lot of surprisingly good tracks including this one. I have also now discovered her collaborator on this song, Alex Francis, for the very first time. His solo work deserves a good listen!
Next Best Superstar by Melanie C
One more Melanie C track, it is the last I promise, and it warrants inclusion just by virtue of actually being really good.
It’s a little bit more pseudo-indie than some of her other efforts, feels a bit Natalie Imbruglia ish maybe. It’s also a bit more bitter and less upbeat lyrically than most of the tracks on this list, really tearing into the music industry machine.
Lift Me Up by Geri Halliwell
If we are being honest then Look at Me is a much better song than Lift Me Up, but this is pleasant enough and you have to love it for the video if nothing else. I mean who doesn’t like a group of little spacemen in silver suits who know how to change a tyre.
This may be her only solo offering to make the list but I do like Geri, she reminds me of someone I used to work with. If we are being honest then she is pretty far from being the greatest singer in the history of pop music, but she’s intelligent and articulate, cute, sassy and just seems like she is probably really good fun.
Wannabe by The Tuts
Then we come to Wannabe, the track that started it all…
Including the original would be just too easy and predictable really, so instead here is a cover by London punk girl band The Tuts, spicing up (pun intended) the original track with a shedload of energy and some quite crunchy guitars, it’s enthusiastic and catchy and just brilliant.