In a world of Kylie Jenner baby announcements, it’s hard to steal the spotlight and the headlines – but last week, the Spice Girls did just that.
Victoria Beckham finally swallowed her pride and joined Emma Bunton, Mel B, Mel C and Geri Horner (although she’ll always be Halliwell to us) for the reunion of the year.
It was confirmed that the group was reuniting for ‘incredible new opportunities’, with recent reports claiming that the Spice Girls are actually going on tour in the UK and US.
And I for one cannot bloody wait.
Reunions get a bad rep. The main thought that pops into your head when seeing that an 80s or 90s act is heading back out on the road is that they have bills to pay. (This definitely isn’t an issue for a radio presenter, a popstar, an America’s Got Talent judge, the wife of the Red Bull F1 boss and the owner of a fashion empire.) Then come’s the ‘ugh, they’re just desperate for attention’. (Again, not an issue for the ominpresent stars.) Then comes – ‘But it just won’t be the same.’
Maybe so. It’s been 22 years since the Spice Girls burst onto the scene, two decades since Geri Halliwell left the group and caused a worldwide breakdown, even ten years since their first reunion tour. I was six years old when the girls danced on the stairs in the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, when I wore leopard print t-shirts reading SPICE and insisted I be Baby when we pretended to be them in school because my name is Emma (duh). I am now 28, I would look a bit creepy in pigtails and I need to go to bed at a reasonable hour not because I have a curfew, but because I’m always knackered. Of course it won’t be the same.
Spice Girls concerts back in the day were mainly filled with teeny boppers, but the teeny boppers nowadays are more concerned with Zoella and celebrities on platforms adults don’t even know about. Make no mistake, a Spice Girls comeback would be attended by women in their twenties and thirties necking rose and gay men, who all still remember the dance routine to Stop.
Nobody excited about the Spice Girls reunion wants new music. Nobody is expecting the girls’ vocals to rival Ariana Grande. They didn’t in the first place. This will be all about nostalgia – and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I went to Steps’ tour last year, having seen them in the 90s as my very first concert. It was an absolute joy – seeing a concert hall full of people my age and older performing the routine to One For Sorrow as if we were all ten years old and not grown adults with crippling credit card debt. And the Spice Girls’ reunion would be even better, as they were so much more than just a pop group.
The Spice Girls were a movement, a symbol for young girls in a music scene dominated by guitars and lads in feuds that it was ok to like pop music, it was ok to dress girly, it was ok to wear tracksuits, it was ok to demand you’re treated as equals to the boys. They were a phenomenon that shattered the notion that you have to be serious and moody and armed with a guitar to be successful or make a difference. They were a group of normal girls whose power stretched beyond the charts and seeped into fashion, feminism and even politics.
The Spice Girls have inspired pretty much every female act out there today – from Adele to Ariana Grande, Little Mix to Carly Rae Jepsen – the pop music scene, the thriving, commercially viable and critically successful scene we have today, has been carved by the ideas put forth by the Spice Girls. There would be no Girls Aloud, no Little Mix in their current form if it weren’t for the Spice Girls a decade or two earlier.
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And if you think that the Spice Girls past their prime when we entered the 21st century, you’re forgetting the last decade. The girls’ first reunion tour in 2007 was insanely successful. Sixteen London dates sold out in one minute, with five million people worldwide reportedly signing up to the ticket ballot. The band’s performance during the 2012 Olympics’ closing ceremony was the most tweeted about moment of the entire Olympics.
The Spice Girls were hugely important to a generation – and that empowerment and influence doesn’t go away when that generation gets a bit older.
I’m under no impression that the Spice Girls will knock my socks off with vocal acrobatics, or that Sporty Spice will backflip across the stage, or that Ginger will come out in a Union Jack tea towel. But I’m 100% sure that they will give me the same sense of joy they did back in 1996, and in this day and age of constant doom, that’s the greatest gift you can get.
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