Spice Girls: Victoria (Posh Spice), Emma (Baby Spice), Melanie C. (Sporty Spice), Melanie B. (Scary Spice), Geri (Ginger Spice).
Additional personnel: Absolute (various instruments); John Themis (acoustic guitar); Milton McDonald, Shawn Lee (guitar); Pure Stringz (strings); Snake Davis (flute); Kick Horns (brass); Matt Rowe, Magnus Fiennes (keyboards, programming); Steve Lewison, Paul "Tubbs" Williams (bass); Pete Davis, Mike Higham (programming).
Producers: Richard Stannard, Matt Rowe, Absolute.
Engineers: Adrian Bushby, Jeremy Wheatley, Paul Hicks, Mark Tucker.
Personnel: Melanie B. , Emma Bunton, Victoria Adams, Geri Halliwell, Melanie C (vocals); Shawn Lee (guitar, bass guitar); Milton McDonald (guitar); John Themis (acoustic guitar); Snake Davis (flute); The Kick Horns (brass); Magnus Fiennes, Matt Rowe (keyboards, programming); Steve Lewison (bass guitar); Mike Higham, Pete Davis (programming).
Audio Mixers: Jan "Stan" Kybert; Mark "Spike" Stent.
Did they actually write the songs, each of which is credited to the Spice Girls plus a couple of songwriting pros? Do Posh and Ginger actually sing on them? Do you really care? In perfect bubblegum form, the Spice Girls capitalize on their moment by releasing their second album in nine months, aping their idols (Madonna, Boy George, the Supremes) even better than they did on the first one, and separating the filler you were expecting anyway with a couple of monster singles you never could have predicted.
The bubbly Motown dance tune "Stop" is either the Supremes filtered through the Archies or Culture Club filtered through St. Etienne--either way, a great lost pop melody hit upside the head by a dollop of new-wave kitsch. "Spice Up Your Life" is the requisite follow-up to "Wannabe," except that it doesn't sound that much like it, and its slinky, Latin-ized beat and fast sing-song rapping are nearly irresistible. Will they be around in another nine months? Do you really need an Andrews-Sisters-in-a-strip-club take on Madonna's "Vogue" ("Lady Is a Vamp")? Do you even care?
Rolling Stone (12/11/97, pp.75-76) - 3 Stars (out of 5) - "...The production throughout is a cunning rehash of hip-hop and pop cliches....it's well-made music to Stairmaster to, and by that standard the whole thing works rather well..."
Melody Maker (12/20-27/97, pp.66-67) - Ranked #37 on Melody Maker's list of 1997's "Albums Of The Year."
Melody Maker (11/8/97, p.51) - "...inspired combination of a zeitgeist-grabbing image and soul-tinging songs that unexpectedly came alive when a bolt of lightning--or in this case fame--caused the beast to start thinking for itself....equal parts retro cool and mainstream gloss..."
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