208. Spice Girls – ‘Spice Up Your Life’ (1997)

“All you need is positivity”

Taken from the album Spiceworld

UK #1, AUS #8, US #18

Cancel the rest of the list, because nothing is more fun than screaming “COLOURS OF THE WORLD! SPICE UP YOUR LIFE!” while this song is playing. The second most in-your-face and rowdy Spice Girls single (respect to ‘Wannabe’), ‘Spice Up Your Life’ was the lead single for their second album Spiceworld and while it wasn’t too massive outside the UK, it continued their reign as one of the most exciting acts to emerge in the late nineties.

‘Spice Up Your Life’ is basically ‘Spice Girls Theme Song’, as it encapsulates everything they were about – power (yes, especially for girls), happiness, excitement and having fun. The Latin rhythms and rush of the chorus is invigorating and expanded on the ludicrous nature of the verses (“Yellow man in Timbuktu, colour for both me and you, kung fu fighting dancing queen, tribal spaceman, and all that’s in between” being a particular favourite). The bit in the middle where each of them seem to shout vaguely connected phrases (“LAMBADA!”) is a defining Spice Girls moment.

The video was a high-budget, high gloss affair, given a dark, sinister feeling to offset the upbeat music. The Spice Girls travel through the air on hoverboads and in their own special ship thing, while they look out around them to see a literal Spice World, with their image and name everywhere. It’s one of the greatest music videos I’ve ever seen – capturing the spirit of the song and group while pushing them in interesting and new directions. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what the song did too.

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