Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Umm, Mel B 

(You know, like Bumble Bee. No? Bloody sod ya then.)

Anyway, with the odds of the Spice Girls reforming for the Live 8 gig now roughly akin to that of everyone accepting the court's judgement in the Michael Jackson case and no longer thinking he's a disturbing paedophile, our attention turns to their solo careers and once more we must lament the absolute shit show that they've turned out to be.

It's a such a shame, but if ever there was a band that was greater than the sum of its parts, it was the Spice Girls. Together they were a five headed pop hydra, taking on all comers and seeing them off with a quick flick of their hips and a melody to die for. Once they separated, however, it seemed their talent was torn apart along with the internal bonds of the group and since then it's just been disappointment after disappointment, with them becoming little more than cheap fodder for sarky pieces in the tabloid gossip columns. It's not to say, however, that the post Spice period hasn't been without it's charms. While Victoria seems happy to allow herself to become a caricature of herself, and Mel C is happier to pretend that her time in the Spice Girls never really happened - seemingly unaware that if it wasn't for that no-one would pay any attention to her by the numbers - the other three have all come up with a few moments that remind you just why they were integral parts of the Spice machine.

First up is Geri who was the first out of the traps and, like any greyhound we've ever bet on, sprinted into the lead before promptly losing it after the first bend, limping half heartedly around the track and finally collapsing in an undignified heap five metres before the finish line. And, if you wish to extend the already tortured metaphor even further, she's not exactly averse to spending the night sniffing round other people's bins, either. But while nowadays Geri may be little more than a joke - certainly her current chart positions are - her first solo record, Look At Me was a triumph. A horn driven, witty slab of pop which managed to be very Geri (Isn't that a disease) without slipping down into the murky waters of self parody. It was so good, in fact, that it almost managed to make you forget that it was a complete rip off of The Propellerheads' History Repeating. It's just a shame that everything since, from Mi Chico Latino all the way to Desire was so poor. Ride It had it's moments, though.

Also managing to fire off one torpedo of pop power in a career otherwise characterised by tedium was Emma, whose Maybe was sixties-esque girl group jangliness in exelcius, and it was a much better fit for her than doing vocals on laid back dance tracks, telling an already snickering world that she wasn't aware of too many things. But it was Mel B who initially showed the most promise when she released, and this might sound wack, I Want You Back, easily the best of the Girls' solo singles. Slinky, sexy and featuring Missy Elliot, it was pretty much everything you could have hoped a solo Spice would release, which is why it's so disappointing that her latest single Today, which has come pretty much out of nowhere, is just so unappealing.

While I want You Back shone with the light of invention and energy, Today shines with nothing more than the dull sheen of someone releasing a record for no other reason than they feel that it's the sort of thing that they should still be doing. It comes across more as the sort of track that would previously have turned up midway through a filler episode of the S Club 7 TV series. And, judging by the lack of imagination and excitement on offer, an episode of the previously unaired Skegness 7 series.

Poor Mel. We expected so much more from her and, indeed, from all the girls. Anyone whose only knowledge of the girls comes from the post split world would no doubt wonder why anyone's getting excited about the girls reforming, but when it comes right down to it, the girls are a bit like the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers - you may need to bear with us here. You see, separate they're still half decent, and can prance around in tight lycra to their hearts content, but ultimately they're not going to get anywhere. Together, however, they can form into one big fuck off robot that can take on anything that might get thrown at them. And they can fire lasers, which is always something worth seeing. Unfortunately, if Live 8 doesn't want them, it's hard to imagine that there'll be a big enough reason for them to put aside their differences and get together for one last blast through Wannabe. Shame. Still, if the single flops, Mel has other plans, one of which involves writing and starring in her own sitcom. We can only hope and pray that she has no Dennis Waterman style plans to write the theme tune and sing the theme tune.