ALBUM THROWBACK: SPICE GIRLS | SPICEWORLD (1997)
Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm and Geri Halliwell had already conquered their native homeland, England—and most of the globe. After their debut album, they were met with international tours, major sponsorship offers, and even a movie deal within a year of the release. It’s always best to strike while the iron is hot, and the Spice Girls weren’t about to let their careers cool down. Thus, "Spiceworld" was born. This sophomore album was recorded while filming their movie "Spice World," meaning that the entirety was written and recorded in stolen moments between takes. While the Spice Girls hung onto the creative control and writing process they had fought for while creating "Spice," their contributions were gradually at times due to the chaotic nature of filming. Spiceworld" didn’t reach the same height of success that "Spice" did. However, it sold over thirteen million copies worldwide and landed on the Billboard Top 100 chart, making them the first British band to have two separate albums in the top ten at the same time since the Rolling Stones over twenty years prior.
"Spiceworld" takes what the Girls built with Spice and expands their sound, further developing their amalgamation of pop, R&B, and disco with dips into Latin influences (“Spice Up Your Life,” “Viva Forever”), Motown sound (“Stop,” “Too Much”), and interestingly enough, jazz (“The Lady is a Vamp”). While some critics weren’t in love with the experimentation, others were impressed that the Spice Girls expanded their horizons musically without sacrificing any of their instantly memorable melodies. For instance, the album opener “Spice Up Your Life” was slammed in reviews for its lyrical hodgepodge, but its effervescence and infectious energy made it worldwide. Thematically, "Spiceworld" helped the Spice Girls continued to build their girl-power brand. Self-respect continued to be a major topic on the album. The Motown-influenced “Stop” is all about slowing down a relationship to prove that it’s more about the chase.
While it may not have seen the same level of commercial success as Spice, Spiceworld is just as important to fans. The album garnered positive feedback for its boundless energy and infectious spirit and the Girls’ dedication to inspiring their fans. Part heart, part mind, all cotton candy, "Spiceworld" might be the answer to one of life’s most vexing perplexities. "Spiceworld" may not have been the be-all-end-all of pop music, but it was insanely energetic, fun as hell, and furthered the idea that the Spice Girls had established with their first album: young girls have voices they should use them, regardless of what anyone tells them to do.