41. WEEKEND LOVE
Once you hear those synthesized plucks, echo-y finger snaps, and Emma’s cheese-ball “La-La-La-La’s”, you’ll understand why this is the only Spice Girls song that I consider down-right BAD. With a “sway-back-and-forth-with-a-lighter”-type melody, the (four) girls tell their one night stands that they don’t want anything to do with them anymore: “We’re playing games, we’re only young/Get with it, it was just a weekend love.” Not only does that not rhyme, but it’s kind of rude. If a guy were to sing that, he’d be labeled as a pig. And putting those lyrics to a sickeningly sweet melody is just bizarre.
Despite the poorly-written song, the girls sound nice. Victoria even belts a little bit! If Victoria attempting to belt isn’t enough to knock you out of your seat, Mel B’s sudden rap right after the bridge surely is. It’s so jarring that it feels like someone is repeatedly slapping you in the face: “Everytime I turn around, you’re standing right there/I really don’t want you, and I really don’t care.” Come on, girls. Haven’t you ever heard of letting a guy down gently? There comes a point where Mel B tries to flip it around on the guy and make the whole song seem like a feminist statement (“You play the game baby, I can play the game, too!”), but it just doesn’t work. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the rap ends as abruptly as it began, culminating into a hilarious, Broadway-style key change back into the chorus.
The song is deliciously ridiculous from beginning to end, and after a few spins, you’ll be weeping into your pillow screaming, “GERI NEVER WOULD HAVE ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN!!”
40. STEP TO ME
ALBUM: Cut from Spiceworld
“Step to Me” was only included in the Japanese release of Spiceworld, and it contains the predictable mixture of Girl Power attitude and sweetness. Throw a Mel B rap in there, and you have a pretty paint-by-numbers Spice Girls song. The production sounds like a re-hashing of one of their previous tunes, and the girls sound like they sang through it once in the studio and were quickly over it. Geri and the Mels can growl all they want, but none of it helps to make the song particularly interesting.
Spiceworld is, without a doubt, the Spice Girls’ greatest era. The funky “Denying,” however, is the weakest track on the album. But it does have some fun little moments! The first verse starts things off strong, and Geri’s “Who the Hell’dya think you’re talkin’ to?” always made the ten year-old me feel so edgy and grown up. And “Check yourself, but don’t forget yourself” is a phrase I still use to this day. The song is a constant simmering pot of Girl Power that never quite reaches a full boil, but it’s not bad by any means.
38. BABY COME ROUND
B-Side to “Mama”/”Who Do You Think You Are”
I think four of the girls forgot to set their alarms and slept through the recording session, because this is just a Mel C solo. I’m not complaining or anything. Good ol’ Sporty can sing her ass off. But if I just wanted a Mel C solo, I’d buy one of her (AMAZING) solo albums. Oh, wait… Just when you start to think the other girls weren’t invited to the party, Mel B decides to show up with (surprise, surprise) a rap. It’s sweet, fairly catchy, and showcases the group’s most talented vocalist, but it’s not a song you’ll find yourself playing over and over again.
ALBUM: Greatest Hits
Oh, my. This one really hits you with some energy, doesn’t it? Honestly, it’s kind of over before you realize it’s begun. It’s a whole lot of fun and definitely gets you jamming in your chair, but it sort of lacks the importance and maturity to really work as a “new” song on the Greatest Hits album. It sounds like it was cut from Spiceworld ten years prior and then re-recorded in 2007. Also, can anyone tell me what “Party-la” means?
36. IF YOU WANNA HAVE SOME FUN
The opening segment sounds like Tinkerbell flying over the castle before a Disney movie. The whole musical intro is actually very interesting and fresh, but it becomes a little underwhelming when the verses start. The chorus, while fun, just repeats over and over again and doesn’t amount to much. The “Wink wink, nudge nudge” moments walk a fine line between cute and cheesy, and I’ve never been quite sure as to how I feel about them. Emma keeps asking us if we’re “having fun”. It’s nice of her to ask, but our appropriate response would have to be, “Meh, I guess.”
35. ONE OF THESE GIRLS
B-Side to “2 Become 1”
This is why B-sides exist. It’s brief, fun, and gives a lot of “cheek and attitude”. Okay, so the song sounds like it was thrown together in a day, and the line “Doing mmmmn, mmmmn and a woah, yeah!” is kind of stupid… but I ain’t hating. The bridge is a great time and features the girls having a discussion about… something. Nothing is better than some classic and confusing Spice Girl banter: “You think they got it?/You’ve always had it/No way! They won’t get it.” What is this “It” they’re referring to? Eh, who cares? Whatever “It” is, I dig it.
34. TIME GOES BY
With tinny production, overly sentimental lyrics, and a slow, heavy drum beat, this song is PERFECT for a middle school dance. I feel like I’m surrounded by pre-teens slow dancing with a foot of space in between each other. And you know what? That’s NEVER a bad thing. And just LISTEN to Victoria in that bridge! I’m sorry, but whenever Victoria has a successful solo, I feel like a proud mama watching her baby blossom and grow.
33. SOMETHING KINDA FUNNY
There are some fans out there who LOVE this song and insist that it’s among their best. I am not one of them. I enjoy it enough and appreciate the genuine funkiness, but it’s never left that much of an impression on me. Mel C’s passionate delivery of “Rules are for fools” does gives me life, and Emma’s little ad-libs at the end are endearing, but the song was never more than something kinda fun to help pass the time.
32. LET LOVE LEAD THE WAY
The first twenty seconds are beyond epic. When I first heard the opening, I shielded myself for what I thought would be the Spice Girls’ greatest ballad—And if you know me, you know I LOVE a Spice Girls ballad. But then the first verse started, and all of my hopes and dreams were crushed. Such a great melody and beautiful production… Even the vocals are on point! But WTF is up with those LYRICS? We’re fed one cheesy cliche after another: “Part of me laughs/Part of me cries/Part of me wants to question why/Why is there joy?/Why is there pain?/Why is there sunshine and the rain?”
Whyyyyyy, girls?? Why must you tease me with such a potentially incredible song and then give me lyrics you probably found scribbled in Emma’s sixth-grade math notebook? Still, props have to be given for the music.
31. TELL ME WHY
Uh oh. The girls are mad. I love a good, bitter, “YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID!”-song. Even Victoria actually puts some angry edge into her vocals—All while remaining very POSH, of course. “Tell me why did you feel you couldn’t stay when we could have stayed together/But you wanted it this way.” Oh, yes. This song is about Geri. Vent, girls! Let it out! We feel your pain!
This wins the award for the slowest Spice Girls song in the history of the group’s discography (not that the history is that long). This ballad gets points for both sounding pretty and successfully rhyming the words “believin’” and “oxygen” without sounding stupid. I have to say, this is a very “climactic” song. There are a lot of climactic key changes at the end (each one more gloriously cheesy than the one before), and Mel C’s solo in the bridge sounds like a euphoric, mid-song sexual climax.
29. LOVE THING
The chorus is great and everything, but the real reason to listen is for the hardcore rap battle between Geri and Mel B: “God help the mista that comes between me and my sistas!” Chills. With all the random screaming and sass, those two are really in their element here. I always figured Scary and Ginger were the two girls in the group who fought the most, which explains why the chemistry in their rap duets was always so passionate. I also want to shake the hand of whatever vocal coach told them to really emphasize the “R” whenever they sing “dReamin’”.
28. WASTING MY TIME
There is little tone to be found in this one, as our girls are giving us all breath here. It’s scintillating. They always have to have a disco throwback on an album, and this one on Forever is irresistibly catchy. The fact that the Girl Power energy still comes across despite the entire song being whispered proves that this song isn’t “wasting your time”! (Ha! Get it?!)
27. LAST TIME LOVER
This is the most urban sound the girls have ever attempted, and it could totally pass for a TLC song. It doesn’t totally fit with the image they eventually ended up creating for themselves, but who cares? The verses (all sung by Mel B) are HOT. And those lyrics? Far too brilliantly dirty for my virgin ears. As you’ll soon discover through reading the rest of the ranking, I am O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D. with Mel B’s lower range. She displays it beautifully here. And Geri? Girl, you betta GET it with that rap!
26. RIGHT BACK AT YA
This one’s got all the positivity and girl power it needs to make it a successful triumph song. At this point, Geri was long gone, and the girls were coming RIGHT BACK AT YA! They proved all the naysayers wrong! Nothing can stop them! They’re here to stay!! “No looking back!!!” GIRL POWER 4 EVA!!!!
Er… Okay, so the album wasn’t that successful, and this “comeback” song didn’t really reflect what really ended up happening. Still, when fans like me first heard this song, it was at least good enough to get us excited for the moment.
“We’re comin’ right back atcha, no R.I.P. Not forgetting the days when we were all ‘Wannabes’.” Preach, girl!
25. BUMPER TO BUMBER
B-Side to “Wannabe”
Give way! The girls are comin’ through! How can we tell? They’re beeping their horns for us. This song is all kinds of kooky with the strange traffic metaphor, but you can’t help but love it. It’s got some major swag AND features some ADORABLE rapping from Emma. How many raps are out there that can genuinely be described as “adorable”? I’m also LIVING for Mel B singing down the octave of Emma during the verses. The star of the song, though, is Geri, simply for her sexy and stylish (and sometimes screamed) “Bumpa ta bumpaaa”’s.
24. TAKE ME HOME
B-Side to “Say You’ll Be There”
This one sounds like it should be on the soundtrack to either a horror movie or a porno. I can’t decide which one. And is Geri’s slightly inaudible mumbling throughout the song considered rap? Whatever it is, it requires a cold shower after listening. I’m telling ya, no one can talk through a song quite like she can. I think this one is strong enough to be more than just a B-side, but I can see why it was left off the album. It’s a little dark for the girls’ generally peppy image.
23. SATURDAY NIGHT DIVAS
Is that the sound of a spaceship landing I hear throughout the song? Are aliens invading? No, it’s just the sound of the Spice Girls achieving GALACTIC DOMINATION. This sultry mid-tempo number has such a unique sound and allows our girls a chance to cool down a bit. Emma shines the brightest out of everyone in those sweet pre-choruses, proving that she’s not just a “Saturday Night Diva”, but an “EVERYMOTHERF*CKINGDAYOFTHEWEEK Diva”.
22. GET DOWN WITH ME
This gets my award for “Most Underrated” of all the Spice Girls songs. It’s GREAT! It was only an album track from the Forever era, so it’s not as well-known as it should be. But, damn! That chorus! It’s the perfect blend of vintage funk and early 2000’s urban pop. The unison singing is killer, as is Mel C’s ad-libbing at the end. Gimme that Spice attitude, girls. Give to to me!
21. WALK OF LIFE
B-Side to “Too Much”
Ooooh, la la! A vintage-y, reggae-ish, latin-ish piece? Please excuse me while I shake my hips around my room. This B-side is something completely refreshing and unique, and it should have been a track on Spiceworld (replacing “Denying”). The vocals are dripping with style: Victoria sounds like she’s singing under water, yet I love it. Geri sounds like the key doesn’t really work for her timber, yet her solo is raunchier than her performance in “Spice Exposed”. And Mel B’s “Zing-a-zing-a-zaaaa” moment? Classic Scary.
20. DO IT
I’ll be damned if those girls aren’t singing their cords out. Mel C is shrieking like there’s no tomorrow, and it makes me weep in ecstasy. I bet even Victoria was dancing around the studio as they were laying down the track to this one. I originally thought the song was cheesy when I first heard it, but I’ve grown to realize what great fun it is. Its message totally embodies the empowering positivity the girls were all about.
19. MOVE OVER
It’s loud, bad-ass, and a bunch of babble. So in a time when pro wresting was making a comeback, it was only natural that Move Over was a hit. Everyone (except for Victoria, of course) is shouting, grunting, and coming up with a million terms that rhyme with “-ation.” Who could ask for anything more? And since the song was used for their iconic Pepsi commercial, the girls were smacking us over our heads not only with their personalities, but with some product endorsement as well.
It’s a new decade, y’all. The 90’s were over. Geri was gone. It was time for a more mature sound, and “Holler” was it. Rodney Jerkins (or “Darkchild” as he was referred to at the time) was the girls’ new producer, and he helped them go back to the more urban sound we occasionally heard on Spice. Before “Holler,” it had been over a year since the girls had put out a new single, and I think this was a great choice to re-introduce the group to the world. It’s sexy, strong, makes you wanna holler, and features the very first male voice ever to be heard in a Spice Girls song.
What kind of Girl Power advocate would I be if I didn’t include “Mama” in my top 20? I revisited this song expecting it to be cheesier than I remembered and was surprised at how well it has held up through the years. Nowadays, we would roll our eyes at the thought of a girl group singing to the mothers of the world, but everything about this record is done with a simple sophistication that provides for a beautiful anthem. Even the gospel choir at the end doesn’t go too overboard. PS-This article is dedicated to my own mama, who has more Girl Power than anyone I know.
16. NEVER GIVE UP ON THE GOOD TIMES
This would have been a KILLER single if Geri hadn’t ruined everything… Er… I mean if Geri hadn’t followed her heart and left. The Spice Girls sure do love their disco! This is one of the most well-produced songs in the girls’ discography, and they sing the hell out of it. I remember being little and dancing around my room like an absolute maniac to this one. It’s infectious beyond belief. And who the hell was playing that flute. Can we TALK about the flute solo?
15. SPICE INVADERS
B-Side to “Spice Up Your Life”
“Spice Invaders” lacks any sort of sense or melody in the same way Spice World lacked any sort of plot or cohesive story-telling qualities. Like their movie, the song is basically a mash-up of the girls goofing around. So why the high ranking? HELLO! Great music isn’t the only reason why we love the Spice Girls! The Spice Girls were more than just a music group. They were best mates celebrating their differences and taking on the world with no apologies for who they were. These girls knew how to entertain the world by just having fun with each other, and their chemistry together has been unparalleled by any other group in music history. Each girl does what she does best: Mel B screams, Geri spouts off useless facts (and apparently hugs a tree), Emma giggles, Mel C tries to make sense of everything, and Victoria sits quietly and, assumably, looks incredible. I love every second of it and am going to go work on my cover of this song right now.
14. HEADLINES (FRIENDSHIP NEVER ENDS)
ALBUM: Greatest Hits
The song begins with a fairly cheesy first verse. It worried me the first time I listened to it in 2007. I mean, this was the NEW song. It was written to launch the reunion tour and to end the seven year drought of new Spice Girl material. It HAD to get better than what the first verse has to offer. And it does. By the time the glorious chorus comes, you’re not only embracing the cheesiness, but bathing in it. Each of the girls has a great moment, but NOTHING can top that truly jaw-dropping verse from Mel C. It may last a only few seconds, but it’s one of the greatest melody lines in any Spice Girls song, ever. Ironically, Mel C has gone on record saying that she really dislikes this song. Whatever. I applaud it. Yes, girls. MAKE those headlines. Let those words yet to be spoken “fall upon the page.”
Friendship, guys… That shit never ends.
Mothers, it’s time to cover the kiddies’ ears. In one of the girls’ more mature songs, we’re reminded that Emma wasn’t as much of a “baby” as we were led to believe. All about the power and dangers that come with exposing one’s emotional and physical vulnerabilities, we are given some riveting lyrical gems: “She wants to play seek and hide, no one to hide behind…” and “Don’t be afraid to stare, she is only naked…” The song is probably mostly remembered for its concert renditions, in which the girls performed while seemingly “naked,” with only the backs of their chairs covering their girly parts. It’s staging that I often re-created in my bedroom as a child. Not kidding. I really can’t decide what my favorite part of the song is. Emma’s Oscar-worthy monologue to the “Mystery Man” on the phone is pretty much the “To Be or Not To Be” of our time… But Mel C TEARS. THAT. BRIDGE. A. PART.
12. THE LADY IS A VAMP
A Throwback with a capital T, “The Lady is A Vamp” is the girls’ ode to the cultural legends that came before them. With a swinging vintage sound, our girls stylishly (and shamelessly) celebrate their own status as the icons of the 90’s. They refute the notion that “The Lady is A Tramp” by giving giving her a more powerful, respectable title of a “Vamp”. After all, these girls have got class. They’re the top of the town. They’re the best.
May 31st, 1998. A date which will live in infamy. I awoke and headed downstairs, thinking it was just a normal, regular day. When I reached my living room, I was greeted by both my uncle and my grandfather. In their hands was a newspaper. On the front page: “Geri Halliwell Leaves The Spice Girls.” The rest of the day is a blur. All I remember is that it rained all day… for God, herself, was weeping. “Goodbye” was written to commemorate the tragic events of that day and is a stunning end of a chapter in the Book of Spice. In this hauntingly beautiful song, we were not only forced to say “Goodbye” to Geri, but we were forced to say “Hello!” to our favorite team as a group of four. We were also forced to say “Hello!” to Scary Spice with straight hair. It was truly a time of personal growth and change.
10. OUTER SPACE GIRLS
B-Side to “Too Much”
I don’t care what you say. “Outer Space Girls” is f*cking INCREDIBLE, and I will never remove it from my Top Ten. Yes, it’s stupid. Yes, it’s ridiculous. Yes, it sounds like a Lady Gaga idea gone wrong. But I bet that you rock out like a lunatic to this one when you’re listening to it alone. It’s a ferocious little diddy about the “Spice Force Five” taking over the universe. What is there to hate? The Spice Girls can’t help it that they’ve achieved intergalactic fame! This song is a drug, and I want it flowing through my veins until the end of time. If you don’t like it, you just need to shut up, leave me alone, and get with the M-G-M-V-E.
9. IF U CAN’T DANCE
Or as I like to call it: “If U Gan Danze”. I just can’t with how good this song is. I. Just. Can’t. It’s too good for reasons I can’t explain. The scorching chorus. The sirens. The claps. The record scratches. What’s happening? I don’t know. I don’t care. The nonchalant intensity draws us in and hooks us from beginning to end. I’m obsessed with Mel B’s “The rhythm…” moment at the 2:25 mark. And Geri’s “Spanish Rap”? Iconic. I once put the Spanish Rap lyrics into google translate and am pretty sure that one of the words she says is the Spanish word for “cock”. Woah. This song is delectably dangerous, and it perfectly punctuates the end of their premiere album with a big, fat exclamation point.
8. TOO MUCH
Mmmmmm… We’re getting served some MAJOR class here. Each of the girls is giving us a true vocal moment. They all have hearty solos (with Mel C’s being the biggest, obviously), and their distinct personalities really shine through in each one. Emma sounds like an angel. Geri plays the slinky femme fatale. Vicki reeks of mysterious elegance. Mel B dangerously grumbles through the fadeout, throwing out those low notes of hers that I love so much. And Mel C… Damn, girl… WORK that bridge! In a blend of 40’s jazz and 90’s R&B, we’re given a sizzling and spicy ballad that is absolutely timeless.
7. SPICE UP YOUR LIFE
Alright. Everybody rise. For this is our anthem. Opening with sounds and beats from all around the world, the girls begin their sophomore (and best) album with a thrilling reminder that they are here to stay. So hold tight, because this song is one intense ride. Rumor has it that due to their busy schedule while filming Spice World, the girls had to record the everything all together at the same time (as opposed to recording individual vocal tracks and putting them together). You can really tell, because their energy is through the damn roof. The final “AHHHH” in silence before the finale is heart-stopping. I literally go into cardiac arrest every time that moment comes. It’s wild. It’s chaotic. It’s nonsense. It’s THE SPICE GIRLS, BABY!!
6. SAY YOU’LL BE THERE
As far as songwriting goes, this one probably ranks #1. It gives us melody for days and features the most interesting and effortless lyrics in the group’s musical canon. In a ridiculously perfect blend of pop, R&B, dance, and funk, we’re presented with a brutally honest portrayal of relationships. The girls shy away from the stereotypically romantic and “girly” values often found in love songs and remind us that true love is about dedication just as much as it is about passion: “There is no need to say you love me/It would be better left unsaid.” These strong women aren’t settling for anything less than what they deserve, and it all comes across in this bold and brilliant piece of work. Oh, and Mel C slays at the end. What else is new?
5. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
I’m sorry, I don’t have time to write about this one. I’m too busy dancing my ass off at the gay club in my high-laced platform shoes. I can’t stop moving, and I won’t stop until I pass out (or until the shoes cause me to break my ankle). As we’ve already established, the girls live for a good disco number, and this one is their finest. Not only is it impossible to not dance to, but it’s impossible to not dance to without the biggest stank-additude all over your face. Let’s not also forget that it was a performance of THIS song that introduced us to Geri’s legendary Union Jack dress. And Mel C, my dear, I swear, you’re killing me with these vocals. You’re absolutely killing me. Those other girls can take a seat… That is, if anyone can stop dancing.
4. 2 BECOME 1
I’m pretty sure this is the music you hear when you die and enter Heaven (minus the sexual lyrics). It’s gorgeous, and it’s the only single the girls ever released that is purely romance. That isn’t to say that it’s without its quirky moments of level-headedness, though: “Be a little bit wiser, baby/Put in on, put it on.” In other words: “Don’t be an idiot. You’d better be wearing a condom.” Rumor has it that the song was inspired by the real-life intimacy between Geri and the group’s co-writer/producer, Matthew Rowe. If that’s true, I wanna know what was going on under those sheets, because those love-making sessions must have been out of this world. The vocals truly soar, with Emma’s angelic voice lilting over everyone’s and Mel B’s grounded low notes keeping this ethereal gem from floating away too much.
“Wanna make love to this song, bay-bayyyyyy…”
Look up the term “Bubblegum Pop”, and you’ll find this stroke of genius at the top of the list. GOD, the chorus is incredible. Once you hear it, it’s impossible for the damn tune to leave your head. This song is so catchy it makes me sick, and it holds the power to turn even the hardest of old men into eight year-old girls jumping up and down on the bed. Its era-driven, Motown-inspired instrumentals and predictably unsentimental comments on romance make this song reek of Spice. Instead of a cutesy song about how happy initial attraction can make a girl feel, our girls slap us with the truth: “You just walk in, I make you smile/It’s cool, but you don’t even know me.” Hey, dudes out there, cool the jets. When you see a girl you like, take the time to get to know her before you get “caught in a craze”. After all, our girls are human, and they “need somebody with a human touch”.
The Spice Girls = The most ADORABLE feminists of all-time!
From the moment we first hear those legendary footsteps and Mel B’s maniacal laughter, we know the girls have arrived.
Honestly, there is nothing I can write that would do justice to the impact of this song. We all already know.
Its cry to unite women marked the beginning of the Girl Power Movement and has become an emblem of sisterhood all around the world.
And it went #1 in more countries than most people know exist.
This song is everything.
1. VIVA FOREVER
Rarely does a song like this come along in an artist’s career. In just a little over five minutes, we are given a full representation of the legacy the Spice Girls have left behind. When Spiceworld came out, “Viva Forever” was a devastatingly beautiful ballad about looking back on old love. When the song was released as a single after Geri’s sudden departure, it became an emotional and moving reflection on themselves as a group. Now, it’s a majestic masterpiece that serves as a time capsule and reminds us where we were almost twenty years ago. Many of us were children at the height of the group’s success. Now that we’re older, we remember our time with the Spice Girls and connect our memories of them to our memories of who we were back then. It was such a short period of time, but it seemed like it lasted a lifetime (and sometimes feels like it was almost a lifetime ago). “Viva Forever” teaches us to let go of that past, but to also never forget it. We look back on both the Spice Girls and ourselves and wonder the same thing Victoria does: “Was it just a dream?”
It wasn’t. They were there. We were there. And inside all of us, the spirit of the group and the spirit of our former selves really will live forever.
The girls were a force of nature, but they weren’t meant to last. Their vivacity… Their tenacity… Their boldness… It was inevitable that all of that energy would fizzle out, yet they still tore through the planet as if they were invincible.
Thank you, girls. Thank you for your positivity. Thank you for celebrating our individuality. Thank you for teaching us how to “live forever, for the moment”.
PS: Mel B’s low notes… Just saying…
- Voting is underway in New Hampshire, the second nominating contest of the U.S. 2016 presidential election 🇺🇸