Dear ‘Spice’, otherwise known as the most important album of my developing years,
This month marks fifteen years since you first bobbed your pigtailed head onto American charts. Once you hit, we were hooked. You were cool and fresh, the epitome of empowerment. But even while you pumped your songs full of preachy girl-powered proclamations, you kept a cheeky smile, showing that an honest and serious message could combine with a pop song just fine – in fact, it could be fun.
When I was introduced to you, I was a happy-go-lucky 4th-grader with big feet and no idea what zigga-zag-ahhh meant (well, who did). Nor did I have a clue about things like feminism, domestic abuse, or “putting it on” before two became one – all issues you addressed in your songs, with an infectious yet fiercely confident approach. I didn’t know what you were singing about then, but it didn’t matter. The lyrics were catchy and the melodies even more. You were the whole package, in fact, for your critics, you were too much of a package but inevitably, its how you won so many fans and drew the influence that still makes you relevant today.
Because, ‘Spice’, it’s sad to admit that after you came along, we saw our fair share of woman with loud messages and funky styles. But none that would represent that unique theme of female solidarity that you did. Not only was your message empowering, it was unifying. Your goal had nothing to do with threatening men. You weren’t interested in taking anyone’s masculinity. In fact, you wanted men to embrace it. You dared men to be bigger and better, and less like the mopey dudes that seemed to be everywhere in the angst-filled post-grunge era. You challenged them to get strong, like the five women who created you were. It seems that while a lot of artists took a hint from Spice’s style, fewer had the lady balls to continue carrying the message that made it an album I’ll still be talking about in another ten years. Your empowerment didn’t come from paying your own bills, or from buying your own shoes. It came from you.
Happy Birthday, Spice! There’s never been another like you, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want there to be.
Can you believe the album is fifteen years old?
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