I wanted to write a Top 5 of albums that have marked me in one way or another but once having 4 clear ones chosen I couldn’t decide on the fifth, so I scrapped it and made a Top 4. Why not. IT’S MY BLOG, etc. The ones I couldn’t choose between are at the end of the post under honorary mentions.
So here it goes.
I still remember back in 2006 when I was a member of a few music/Spice Girls forums and everyone was all over Girls Aloud. Some of them even dared to say they were better than the Spice Girls and I would just side eye them and be like “those bitches. I’m never gonna listen to them”.
Anyway. I’ve chosen the Greatest Hits because even though it wasn’t until Tangled Up that I truly became a big fan, I bought this album cause I was bored of listening to everyone telling me to give them a go that I just bought it, like that. And it arrived on the perfect moment.
I had finished college and I had just spent two intensive days taking exams to get into uni. The exams hade gone brilliant, I was free for the summer, it was a hot sunny day and I was happy. A classmate drove me home and when I arrived, no one was in. On the kitchen table, a package. It was this album. So I played it and turned the volume up, the music so loud through the speakers. And I started jumping around the house. Literally. I had never listened to half of the songs on the album before, buying it had been sort of an impulse, and there I was, dancing and jumping to it like a lunatic.
It would be unfair to claim that’s the sole reason why I like them, I think I would have ended up loving them anyway, but that day was special and they put the soundtrack to it, and those are the memories that stay no matter what. Girls Aloud are responsible of making me discover a lot of amazing music, not just their music, but by association, a whole lot of artists.
I choose Biology because of course it is the most brilliant song they have ever recorded.
I had a phase in my life from 16 to 19 where I got very into bands like AC/DC, Guns N Roses and Queen. Out of them all, my favourites back then were, and still are, the ones above.
Queen are special to me for many reasons. Freddie Mercury is the most charismatic performer I’ve ever seen and I’ll be forever upset I never got to see him live. Watching videos of their performances at Wembley Stadium, it is just unbelievable the amount of talent that sweats through his pores at his every move, his confident pose, his flawless vocals. Time after time, he always did deliver. Watching him on DVD, hell, even on Youtube, moves me like no other.
And it’s not only Freddie’s performance what makes Queen amazing. Their collection of hits is so wide I could go on for ages. We Will Rock You reminds me of going to football matches to the stadium, Bohemian Rhapsody is one of my favouritest songs ever. I rediscovered I Want To Break Free when I needed to break free. I used to walk to high school listening to I Want It All and feeling like a rockstar inside. Barcelona reminds me of my mum, because when I was 2 she lived there for work reasons for 8 months. She hates that song for that same reason.
Queen chain me to my London family, to high school, to my current friends. Queen are the reason I play guitar.
Ah, the almighty Spice Girls. A lot of fans will say Spiceworld is a more cohesive album than Spice, but there’s NO way I’m going to leave Spice out of this top 4. Because Spice is, well, Spice. It is THE Spice Girls album. And I list: Wannabe, Say You’ll Be There, 2 Become 1, Love Thing, Last Time Lover, Mama, Who Do You Think You Are, Something Kinda Funny, Naked and If You Can’t Dance. I don’t even need to look at the tracklisting, I just know it. It is a short album, only 10 songs (Beyoncé would have a fit before releasing only 10 songs) but it is pure utterly pop perfection.
I could talk all day about what the Spice Girls mean to me, though if you read a post I wrote a couple of days ago you might already have an idea. The Spice Girls, and specially this album, are my childhood, just like the next album is. I have played it to death and I cannot get tired of it. Spice is smiles, lollipops, platforms, pigtails, tongues out, tacky clothes and fiesta. It captures the true essence of what the 90s would later be remembered for, because it is partly the Spice Girls’ fault it is remembered like that on the first place.
Spice starts with footsteps and Mel B’s laugh and ends with police sirens and old vinyl scratches. On the Wannabe video, they barge into a party and trash it and then run away laughing in less than 3 minutes. That’s the metaphor of what they did with their career: they arrived into the pop scene, partied all the way through it, conquered every single country and then ran away, in barely 3 years. I’m not forgetting Forever, their 4th album, but lets face it, that album *isn’t* the Spice Girls. That is a Destiny’s Child-esque experiment by Melanie C, Mel B, Victoria and Emma.
Spice has the most iconic singles, the most iconic image and the most iconic videos and performances. Spice is the first true reason why I got into pop music.
Dirty Dancing is the first music I can remember listening to. It is also one of the first movies I remember watching, along with Cinderella and other Disney classics. From a very young age I was fascinated by the music and the dancing and my aunts are entirely guilty of this, because they were so fed up of watching Disney when I was around that they would put this and Cher’s movie Mermaids, but that one never stuck as much. It is a movie I watch a few times every year since then and I can never get tired of it, and as much as my family may complain, they can’t either, joining in at the sofa and squeeing at the final dance every. single. time.
I have the memory of being at the old flat where we lived until I was 7, playing the vinyl and getting annoyed because it was scratched in the middle of In The Still of The Night. In summer we used to go to a little house my grandma has in the country side. It was truly one of those places surrounded by fields and trees and wild pathways that lead to abandoned old houses where imagination would run wild. There was a small river too and by it a huge tree with a rudimentary swing hanging from one of the branches. To be able to use the swing you had to cross the river, and to cross it there was a tree trunk. There was no single time I crossed the trunk without singing Hey Baby. Not once. I demanded to be lifted by my dad and my uncle time after time, but it just never worked like in the movie. I was just a kid and while other kids were obsessed by cartoons, I couldn’t stop watching this movie and the biggest reason is the music. It is what drew me to it and what made me obsessed to it. It is always the music.
As I grew older, instead of it being one of these things you grow out of, or even feel slightly embarrassed you once liked, I’ve been able to appreciate it more. Dirty Dancing may not have the best acting in the world but its soundtrack cannot be faulted. It is the 5th biggest selling soundtrack of all time and in the top 10 of the biggest selling albums. The final song, (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life has won an Oscar and a Golden Globe. It is listenable from start to end, a combination of old school soulful tracks with 80s classics. I still have that vinyl and I still play it despite it being scratched, despite having the CD and the music on my iTunes. Sometimes, I simply fancy touching it and putting it on the player and enjoying the old quality that it holds, that takes me back to the oldest memories I have.
It would be easier for me to list my non favourite songs from this album rather than my favourites, so I’m not even gonna try. But as I want to leave a little taste of the album, I’ll leave you with Cry To Me. Even if you don’t like the movie, there’s no way you can resist this song.
Britney – ...Baby One More Time
Shakira – …Servicio de Lavandería
Christina Aguilera – Mi Reflejo
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms
Adele – 21
Kylie – Aphrodite