66. Spice Girls – ‘Wannabe’ (1996)

“So here’s your story from A to Z
You wanna get with me, you gotta listen carefully
We got Em in the place who likes it in your face
You got G like MC who likes it on an’
Easy V doesn’t come for free, she’s a real lady
And as for me, ha, you’ll see
Slam your body down and wind it all around
Slam your body down and wind it all around”

Written by Matt Rowe/Richard Stannard/Spice Girls

Produced by Matt Rowe/Richard Stannard

Taken from the album Spice

Also released on Greatest Hits

UK #1, US #1, AUS #1

“The best selling single by a female group in the history of recorded sound”. That’s what Wikipedia tells me, anyway. Think about that for a second. Think of every song by a female group ever, ‘Wannabe’ did better than it. It’s not really that hard to believe when you think back to just how popular the Spice Girls were in their heyday, but when you listen to the song it doesn’t sound like like something that monumental. So how did this super-light, absolutely-no-substance pop song connect with so many people on a level never seen before or since?

Well, obviously it was because ‘Wannabe’ is one of the best pop songs of the nineties, seemingly created as a little time capsule to explain this phenomenon to people 1000 years from now. “What was pop music, great-great-great-great-grandfather Richard?” “Well, children, it was… it was… YOOOO I TELL YA WHAT I WANT WHAT I RALLY RALLY WANT”. ‘Wannabe’ was so catchy it was like an advertising jingle, and by being made up of nonsense words and vague sexual references, everybody could enjoy it while never really understanding what it means. I doubt the Spice Girls themselves knew what it meant, they were just happy to jump around and make money.

The video was really the most amazing thing about ‘Wannabe’, though. I don’t really understand where the girls are supposed to be (some hotel), but I know they’re there to cause as much trouble as possible. Seemingly shot in one long take, they invade official-looking events and backflip over their tables, mess up their official papers and dance with creepy old women. Both the song and the video capture the appeal and the genius of the Spice Girls mindset, sell themselves perfectly, and never get old.

Music video:

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