What Millennials Should Know About… Spice Girls ‘Spice’

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VIBE spotlights some of music’s most essential timepieces for Gen Y

Spice Girls Spice (1996) Elevator Pitch: The Spice Girls came in an assortment of flavors: Sporty, Scary, Baby, Ginger and Posh, yet satisfied pop cravings as a unit. Infusing snappy and sassy tracks with hints of R&B and rap, while waving a flag for sisterhood, the British babes are what Beyoncé is to females today: GIRL POWER! Bet You Didn’t Know: “2 Become 1″ was about sex. Pop-obsessed tweens who probably weren’t schooled about the birds and the bees had no idea what “Put it on, put it on” meant. (It means slap on some condoms and/or other contraception, FYI). Yet, from the symphonic melody and whispery vocals, it probably wasn’t on your baby-making playlist.

Lines Best For Status Updates: —”If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends” “Wannabe” —”I’m giving you everything, all that joy can bring, this I swear/ And all that I want from you is a promise you will be there” “Say You’ll Be There” —”Candlelight and soul forever/ A dream of you and me together/ Say you believe it” “2 Become 1″ —”God help the mister that comes between me and my sisters” “Love Thing” —”Cause I’m a choosy not a floozy, I get my hit and then I run with it” “Last Time Lover” —”First bite whet my appetite, second helping’s always better” “Last Time Lover” —”Giving is good as long as you’re getting/ What’s driving you is ambition and betting” “Who Do You Think You Are” —”Wherever you’re going, high or low/ Remember to sure enjoy the show” “Something Kinda Funny” —”Rules are for fools, and fool’s paradise is hard to find/ Play my game or get left behind” “Something Kinda Funny”
Synopsis: Thirteen seconds into the Spice Girls’ 2007 documentary, Giving You Everything, Geri Halliwell (b.k.a. Ginger Spice) asks, “Do you wish you were a Spice Girl? C’mon.” Two decades later, the answer is still an emphatic “YES!” The British pop quintet—comprised of Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham, Melanie “Scary Spice” Brown, Melanie “Sporty Spice” Chisholm, Emma “Baby Spice” Bunton and the aforementioned Ginger—supplied the fresh breath of air in a market saturated with Cool Water-drenched boy bands, a la Hanson, *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees. Their 1996 LP, Spice, zig-a-zig-a’d to the top of the charts off the strength of their infectious pop hit “Wannabe,” which was just crowned the catchiest song according to a recent Internet study. The group’s debut shook off the one-hit wonder stigma and carved the blueprint for future pop girl group acts (see: drag queens). They also knew when to tone it down, like on the tear-soaked “Mama” (helmed by the Baby Spice, ofc) and when to tiptoe into provocative territory, like “Naked” (Ginger’s spoken word took the lead here). Spice was a buffet for the ears that made you sit through every course. It was also the perfect introduction for the soon-to-be icons, who made being themselves the standard before neatly packaged artists were the norm. The Spice Girls were more than just glitter, miniskirts and lipstick, but proof that making it in the entertainment biz as a female takes balls (peace signs included). While their catalog and matchy-matchy ensembles wouldn’t flourish in the late 2000s, the Girls are better left as memories of pop greatness. And they knew it too. Their comeback tour in 2007-2008 with all five members (Ginger split in 1998) was a formal farewell to all the girls and girl adults who never gave up on the good times and probably never will.—Adelle Platon (@adelleplaton)