Monday, April 28, 2014

(Sweet?) Childhood Memories, Part Two

The story of my earlier life continues. Soon after Mr. President's eurodance came the biggest 90s phenomenon, the boy bands and girl bands. The biggest thing were of course the Spice Girls.

Spice Girls could still be considered one of the biggest phenomena of my entire life. When they started releasing music in 1996 it was everywhere and they became almost every little girl's biggest idols and role models. Looking at the Spice Girls now it is no wonder they became so big. They sang very nicely (harmonies too), their music was absolutely catchy and melodic dance pop, their dancing was fun to mimic, they looked good and gave away lots of positive kick-ass energy, also known as girl power. In true bubblegum fashion there was also a massive amount of different merchandise around. Girls (and maybe a few boys) listened to them, collected photos, posters and stickers of them and dressed up as them. All in all, the Spice Girls gave me the ultimate bubblegum pop experience.

The Spice Girls did seem to represent positive values such as encouraging different people to accept themselves and other people as they are. They participated in the writing of their own music and their videos are still amazing to watch (check out Who Do You Think You Are, Too Much, Spice up Your Life, 2 Become 1, Viva Forever and others). For me, the music was always the biggest part of the experience despite everything else that was going on. Spice Girls' pop melodies are timeless and the music expresses true emotions even though the computerized production may not appeal to everyone – not even me, but it is a fairly small thing.

However, it can be argued that the Spice Girls may not have played a very significant role in inspiring girls to develop musical skills of their own. In fact, the different dance choreographies, clothing styles and looks in general got so much attention that practically the only thing the Spice Girls inspired in my life was collecting their pictures and dressing up like them. Or maybe me and my friends were just too young for other musical activities.

The Spice Girls were a fairly short-lived phenomenon but they surely were a fantastic one. The concept was very appealing both visually and musically. The Spice Girls phenomenon also had a strong social character: me and all of my friends were interested in the same music which is something that have I never experienced since.

I listened to the two first Spice Girls albums (Spice, 1996 and Spiceworld, 1997) very carefully but me and most of my friends seemed to lose interest after Geri Halliwell left and the group went on as a quartet: I guess it wasn't the same anymore. Maybe things like the Spice Girls mania aren't supposed to last very long.

I don't actively listen to the Spice Girls anymore but every time I do it is great fun. A while ago there was a documentary on TV about Viva Forever, the Spice Girls musical. It was great to see my old idols again, and a musical play surely is a very suitable medium to keep the music alive. All in all, it is good to see that there is still some pretty strong activity around the Spice Girls.

Also very much worth mentioning are the Backstreet Boys who were never the biggest thing until the Spice Girls had pretty much broken up. I did indeed listen to the Backstreet Boys quite a lot even when the Spice Girls were on top of their fame. The Backstreet Boys are still around and I was even hoping to finally go see them live in Helsinki a while ago but I still couldn't make it – I never seem to be able to! I don't listen to Backstreet Boys either anymore but when it comes to music they were once a relatively important part of my life.

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