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Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Spice Up Your Life"

Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life (1997)

Well it's my favorite song of theirs. What of it?

It's dance pop. Pure and simple. Five girls from England, and a whole lot of production, do a Latin dance influenced anthem for the world. The group wrote and recorded their part in mere hours. They were filming a movie, dragging an MTV crew behind them, and had to have a record out the door as fast as possible. The stream-of-conscious writing that occurred gives us some hilarious lines: /We moonwalk the foxtrot, then polka the salsa/ is a favorite, also this gem: /Kung Fu fighting dancing queen/Tribal spaceman and all that's in between/. I don't know what that last one means, but it's catchy. Not good, but catchy. In a rare event, they were all in the booth together at the same time as well. Producer Richard Stannard usually had them record their vocals separate, but time was short so they all recorded the chorus together.

Musically the song is a never ending carnival dance number. Percussion including bongos, congas, steel drums, cabasa, vibraslap and police whistle make sure we know we are having fun. The piano part holds the song together. Six notes repeated in different keys are the main through line in the song. When the producers need a big sound, they just have all the girls sing. There's no horns or winds on the track that I can hear. I would have had some trumpets for sure, but alas...

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