No, I’m not gonna call my love for The Spice Girls a “guilty pleasure,” nor will I claim to listen to them “ironically.” Likewise I’m not going to argue how brilliant they were and if you’d just give their music a chance that… although I do most certainly believe that they and the people around them produced truly great pop culture. They sold 80 million albums, made hundreds of millions of dollars and their live shows were seen by millions of fans the world over, so the matter has been more or less settled anyway. Their place in music history is what you might called “assured.”
But no, to advocate too strongly for the artistic merits of the Spice Girls—even though I could do that—would just get me in trouble with DM’s sniffy rock snob readership. When a post of anything Grateful Dead-related brings out the slobbering Jerry-haters, I should think anything boosting the aesthetic bonafides of Spice Girls would attract fire-breathing death threats (and that’s just from my rock snob wife).
I ain’t gonna lie to you, I’ve listened to the first two Spice Girls CDs hundreds of times. (Never in the house, though, always in the car…)
But this isn’t about The Spice Girls, it’s about the best solo album that one of them put out, Mel C’s Northern Star.
Although the album got virtually no traction whatsoever in America, Northern Star‘s hit singles “Never Be the Same Again” (featuring a rap from TLC’s Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and produced by mega-hitmaker Rhett Lawrence), “If That Were Me,” “I Turn to You,” “Goin Down” and the title track were popular to the point where it was difficult to escape from them all over Europe circa 1999-2000, as anyone over the age of 25 today will probably recall. The Hex Hector remix of “I Turn To You” was a massive, massive dancefloor smash (and actually did get some attention from US DJs. Hex Hector won the 2000 Grammy as Remixer of the Year for this number.)
Every song on Northern Star was co-written by Melanie Chisholm and produced by such heavyweight namebrand talents as Rick Rubin, WIlliam Orbit, Marius de Vries, long-time Spice Girls collaborator Richard Stannard, Rick Nowels, Craig Armstrong and the aforementioned Rhett Lawrence. A serious team indeed and it paid off handsomely with the album selling in excess of four million copies.
So even though I have already taken shit for this one even before posting it (Yep, my wife just passed by the office and asked me “You’re not going to put douchebag dancefloor music on the blog, are you?”) there’s nothing to be ashamed of for loving pop music. Hey, it’s not like I’m arguing that this is the best album by a former Beatle or anything, but what Mel C offered on Northern Star was pure pop perfection.
Here’s the one that hooked me, “Goin’ Down.” She fucking crushes it. Dig that guitar riff!! Tell me this song would be out of place on a Garbage album. Doubt my word? Hit play.
More from Mel C after the jump…
Posted by Richard Metzger |