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Probably The Final Album From A Pop Phenomenon
on December 23, 2003
When people look back on the biggest popular culture impacts of the 20th Century, they're gonna remember people like Madonna, Elvis, the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe and the Spice Girls. However, what separates the Spice Girls from those other four is the fact that they had just four years to make a big enough impact on the century for people to remember. As you probably know as you read this, they did more than just that. From their debut album "Spice" in 1996 which sold 25 million copies, to the sponsorship deals with Pepsi/Walkers/Polaroid/Impulse/Sony/Mercedes, to front-page tabloid headlines on a daily basis, it's not ridiculous to say that they ruled the world. In about the same amount of time as the Beatles, the Spice Girls ripped the world to bits everywhere they went. Not since the Fab Four had the world seen such crazy children, buying everything from lollipops to t-shirts of their idols.
Britney might have sold more records, but she'll never hold a torch to the phenomenal impact that the Spice Girls had on a world scale. The Spicy fivesome were selling millions of copies of each single they released. That just doesn't happen with any act. Critics laughed at them, but 1996 and 1997 became the years of Spice. The departure of Geri Halliwell, the lead singer of sorts, on 31st May 1998 threw the record industry into turmoil: Virgin reported losses of $300 million on that day alone. The Girls vowed to carry on, but by the end of the year it was evident that the girls were crumbling. They took all of 1999 off and returned in November 2000 with their third album "Forever."
Forever is the third and least popular album from the Spice Girls. It barely made a dint on the US charts in comparison to their first two albums which sold more than 10 million copies between them in the States. In the UK it spent just one week in the Top 10 at No.2 - a far cry from the days when their debut spent almost a year in the Top 10. Worst of all, they were beaten to No.1 by Westlife, Ireland's premier cheesy boyband with about as much talent as Anna Nicole.
"Holler" opens Forever in style. This song became the 9th UK No.1 single for the Spice Girls in October 2000. The production here is high from Darkchild and the girls all have equal vocal contributions. The R'n'B beats are heavy-hitting and the song has just as much melodic excellence that made songs such as "Say You'll Be There" and "Spice Up Your Life" such popular hits. "Tell Me Why" has a cool Japanese lady speaking, before the funky beats kick in. Victoria starts the singing, and Melanie C's vocal support the songs foundations. "Let Love Lead The Way" was the other song that joined Holler as a Double A-Side to become No.1. It's a beautiful ballad that contrasts the other song, but definitely not the best ballad by the girls - those odes belong to 2 Become 1, Too Much and Viva Forever. "Right Back At Ya" has some wonderful computerized effects to begin with and the vocals from Melanie B inparticularly are strong.
"Get Down With Me" is just so damn funky. You just wanna bang your head so hard when Darkchild starts whispering in tune to the beat, and Melanie B's voice complements him well. "Wasting My Time" is an extremely classy song with some posh instruments and sunlit vocals from Emma. "Weekend Love" is the first mid-tempo song of its kind on the album. For about the first two minutes and 40 seconds it's a rather slow song, then Mel B lets rip with her true feelings! "Time Goes By" is another ballad, while "If You Wanna Have Some Fun" remains my favourite song on the whole album. This shows how the Spice Girls can produce such catchy and melodic pop hits with such simplicity. They don't need that many producers or writers - they can do it themselves. "Oxygen" is a gorgeous ballad, which is followed by the Spice Girls' 8th UK No.1, "Goodbye." This topped the charts for Christmas 1998 and was the Spice Girls' third consecutive Christmas No.1 after Too Much in 1997 and 2 Become 1 in 1996. It's such a gorgeous ballad and obviously about Geri leaving.
OVERALL GRADE: 8/10
Geri Halliwell leaving the Spice Girls caused the downfall of the biggest girl band in the history of music. No, not TLC or Destiny's Child had as big an impact on the world as the Spice Girls! They shifted almost 50 million albums in four years and produced some of the biggest hits in history. People may diss them now, but people will still be dancing to the likes of Wannabe and Stop at Christmas parties in ten years' time. I'd give Forever three stars because it has lost the traditional pop edge of their last two albums which hold so much memories for me, but I'd definitely give it five stars for the production values as an album on its own, which averages this album out at four stars. If you've got their first two albums, just give this one a go. It's pretty damn good.