wed 21/10/2020

Album: Melanie C - Melanie C | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Melanie C - Melanie C

Album: Melanie C - Melanie C

The nicest Spice Girl gets a disco reinvention on her eighth album

There’s a lot to like about Melanie Chisholm. She was always the Spice Girl who came over as most genuine and down to earth – not to mention the one who could sing.

There’s a lot to like about Melanie Chisholm. She was always the Spice Girl who came over as most genuine and down to earth – not to mention the one who could sing. From the beginning her “Sporty Spice” image was quietly subversive, a body-positive role model well away from cliched feminine norms, something that she carries through to this day: in videos and photoshoots, though she’s clearly no stranger to stylists, personal trainers and makeup artists, she proudly looks her un-botoxed, un-fillered, un-filtered 46 years.

She still comes over as a natural enthusiast, and generous to boot: her interviews are always full of praise for her team and collaborators. Notably this includes bigging up the A&R who set her up with the collaborations on this, her eighth solo album, and set its modernist tone – where lesser pop stars would try and come the auteur and make out it was all their personal vision.

This A&Ring manifests itself mostly in a big, crisp hyper-disco electronic pop sound – the sort of thing that has worked so very well for Dua Lipa, and can currently be heard in records by the likes of Doja Cat. It’s quite a way from the soft rock and Radio 2 ballads that have mostly filled her albums to date, but she gets into it with aplomb, her voice fits it well, and it feels like a coherent whole. Even guest rapper Nadia Rose is woven fully into the downtempo funk of “Fearless” her vocal interplay with Chisholm miles from the usual parachuted-in guest verse.

Given all that, it feels churlish to find fault, but there’s one big downfall to this album – a tendency in the lyrics to positive thinking homilies. All too often it’s “when I look in the mirror I finally like who I see”, “if you don’t try then you’ll never know”, that kind of thing. That’s not all there is, mind. It gets darker in the vengeful “Blame it on Me” which rages at gaslighting, and the three and a half minute anxiety attack “Nowhere to Run”, and saucier on the extremely funky “In and Out of Love”. These are all album highlights, but the regular intrusion of songs that sound all too much like motivational posters don’t half kill the mood. There’s a lot to like here, but a few spoonfuls less sugar and it could have been a significantly bigger achievement.

@joemuggs

Watch "In and Out of Love":

Even guest rapper Nadia Rose is woven fully into the downtempo funk of “Fearless” her vocal interplay with Chisholm miles from the usual parachuted-in guest verse.

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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