'Spice Up Your Life' was the girls' 5th single and a record-breaking 5th consecutive No. 1 smash... It is now incredible to think that only 18 months ago nobody had ever heard of Scary, Ginger, Baby, Sporty or Posh!Incredible indeed. Not only was 'Spice Up Your Life' a record-breaker, it also has an extra place in history as the single that displaced the all-time biggest-seller from the top of the chart: as I alluded to in the previous post, that was 'Candle In The Wind 97', a song that presumably wasn't considered for a Now album (surely everyone who wanted it had a copy by now anyway?) although its double-A-side partner 'Something About The Way You Look Tonight' does make an incongruous appearance on the recent Now That's What I Call a Million. Apparently, the death of Diana forced some edits to the film Spice World which was being shot at the same time as this song was recorded, and they also famously had to cut out Gary Glitter for other reasons.
As a song released at the peak of the group's fame, 'Spice Up Your Life' meets the challenge head on, even in the title. It's the sort of self-conscious theme tune that I often find off-putting but this takes it so far it's hard to resist, and the Latin beat was running just at the cutting edge of pop fashion at the time. The lyrics are not by any stretch of the imagination good (do they really say "Yellow man in Timbuktu"?) but they flash by just about fast enough for you to ignore them and the whole thing is over in less than three minutes. It's the first of two songs on Now 38 where I thought it sounded a bit like somebody was saying "wanker", though of course they're not really. Despite a strong first week, though, this single was relatively poorly-received and lasted only a single week at the top (first time for a Spice single) and suffered the unusual-for-1997 ignimony of being overtaken by a climber rather than a new entry.
Also appearing on: Now 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 42, 47
Available on: Greatest Hits