Spice Up Your Life – Brit POP


Facts is facts.

Much as your local postmodernist bore would like to tell you that four plus four isn’t always eight because four raindrops plus four more raindrops actually makes something other than eight raindrops, there are still things that are true.

You can take these facts to the bank…

The debut album from The Spice Girls, “Spice”, sold just under 3 million copies in the UK and over 23 million copies world wide.  The follow up, “Spiceworld”, sold only 13 million copies world wide and around 1.5 million copies in the UK.  That means that their combined totals is 36 million copies sold…Oasis sold less copies of the two albums that match most closely to the release dates for those two albums; “Morning Glory” and “Be Here Now”.  Blur, meanwhile, didn’t come close to the numbers shifted by The Spice Girls…not by a long way.

The Spice Girls also had a global impact that few bands in history could come close to matching…certainly you would be hard pressed to find another female group who come close.

They were a phenomenon.

A certain type of person reading this is already frothing at the mouth.

“Manufactured shite.” they are yelling, bellowing and howling.

“Plastic.” they scream as they scrabble for their long since faded Stone Roses t-shirt.

“They didn’t even write their own songs” they are bleating as they give “As You Were” another spin.

Boys, and they probably are boys, just relax.

I’m not saying The Spice Girls were better than Oasis or Blur.

***I absolutely am saying that***

I’m just saying that it is churlish, infantile and, maybe, just a teeny-weeny bit snobby and a teeny-weeny bit sexist to be so enraged by a band who played their part in pushing British music front and centre on the global stage in a way that Paul Weller couldn’t ever imagine.

I’m not saying that “Viva Forever” is better than “Wonderwall”.

***I am saying that***

I’m not suggesting that “2 Become 1” is more beautiful and achingly romantic than “To The End”.

***I am***

I’m just saying that the nineties, specifically British music from the nineties, is defined by The Spice Girls in places where our favourite Britpop bands don’t even register.

Calm down.


I’m not arguing that “Spice” is a better record than “Give Out But Don’t Give Up”.

***It is***

Nobody is trying to convince anyone that Sporty, Scary, Baby, Posh and Ginger are cooler than the bloke who played bass in Menswe@r.

***They were***

The only thing I am suggesting here is that The Spice Girls sold more records, reached a wider audience, made better records, had more hits and inspired more teenage girls than Thurman.

And I bloody love Thurman.

I’m not saying that “Mama” is a better record than “English Tea”.

***I am, because it is***

Just chill out.

Nobody is trying to suggest that you could never be as cool as Victoria or that Sporty’s solo career was more interesting than Beady Eye for goodness sakes.

***You won’t be and it was***