If you had said to anybody this time 20 years ago that the Spice Girls would still be a bankable interest – whether in group or solo efforts – they would have laughed in your face. That’s not meant in a glib way, you understand. Next week’s The Story of Pop: 2000 entry will cover the very release of theirs which prompted such a feeling among the wider press and public.
But regular readers who will remember my review of Lauren Bravo’s book ‘What Would the Spice Girls Do?‘ a couple of years ago will remember one of that book’s key arguments: the idea that things in pop culture – but particularly pop music – take 20 years to gain full and universal acceptance and celebration.
Viewed in that light, the recent success of this, Melanie C’s eighth solo album, has never been more timely. The first sign that changes were afoot in her world was after the girls (minus Victoria Beckham) completed their Spiceworld 2019 tour of UK stadiums last year.
Mel immediately went straight on a solo world tour of Gay Pride events in collaboration with the drag queen collective Sink the Pink, from which came the one off single ‘High Heels’ with them towards the end of last year. Between this and her venturing back to her poptastic roots from the glory days of Spice at the stadiums last summer, it was clear what was coming next.
Melanie’s undoubtedly had one of the most interesting solo careers of all the Spice Girls. From crunching grunge to soft R&B, to electronica and soft pop rock, and even at one point show tunes, she’s not exactly been pinned down in one place the whole time.
Which is what makes this self titled album all the more of a revelation. It’s the sound of her refining everything she’s learnt in her two decades plus in music, honing them all to perfection, and fully accepting who she is both as a woman and a performer.
Her recent Colour and Light live stream show she did to globally launch the album highlighted this. In fact, viewed in conjunction with the songs, the colour and light – pardon the pun – really emerges on floorfilling bangers like ‘In And Out Of Love’ and ‘Blame It On Me’.
Songs like ‘Fearless’, a stunning collaboration with Brit rapper Nadia Rose, and ‘Good Enough’ pull no punches (especially the latter’s lyric ‘I’m not gonna be your acceptable version of me’) and demonstrate a special strength and confidence that only comes from someone who’s been in the game since the mid 90s.
Little wonder then, that this has been the first top 10 album for Melanie in 17 years. Melanie C is not a shy wallflower of a record. Musically and lyrically, it’s honest and upfront, and is pulled off with panache to deliver one of the best pop albums of 2020. They do say it’s always the quiet ones, don’t they?
STREAM THESE: ‘Fearless’ (feat. Nadia Rose), ‘Overload’, ‘In And Out Of Love’, ‘End of Everything’
Melanie C’s self titled new album is available to stream and download now via Red Girl Media. Twitter: @MelanieCmusic
Have you heard this album? What do you think? Do you agree with our review? Leave your comments belowusing the hashtag #CrazyStupidAlbum.