The Spice Girls’ first album, Spice, was a life-affirming, soul-pumping, beat-pounding thing of beauty. I memorized every lyric and every dance move to all 10 songs on that cassette. It was the soundtrack to my prepubescent days of feather boas and sparkly sunglasses, and remains one of my favorite albums to put on if I’m feeling like I need a throwback.
However, its meaning goes far beyond simple nostalgia and dance parties.
After 12 years of public education, 4 years of higher education, and a year into law school, I have learned one thing and one thing only – the Spice Girls taught me everything that I’ve needed to know to survive my 20s thus far.
Here are the life lessons to be gained from each track:
If you want my future, forget my past
If you wanna get with me, better make it fast
At some point in your semi-adult existence, you reach a point where your past becomes irrelevant and you get sick and tired of playing “the game.” You want a partner to take you as the fabulous creature you are, fully knowing that you come complete with a past and baggage, yet choosing to love you for those flaws regardless.
2. Say You’ll Be There
Now you tell me that you’ve fallen in love,
Well I never ever thought that would be
This time you gotta take it easy throwing far too much emotion at me
Ah, the dreaded “friend-zone” – when one person in a friendship decides to take their feeling to another level, it can be an awkward situation for the one who doesn’t reciprocate. Tell ‘em to take a few steps back and talk it out.
3. 2 Become 1
Be a little bit wiser baby, put it on, put it on,
‘Cause tonight is the night when two become one
Wrap it up, kids. Baby Spice says it’s the smart thing to do, and the words of Baby Spice are the true gospel.
4. Love Thing
God help the mister, yeah God help the mister,
That comes between me and my sisters
At this point in your life as a 20-something, you have at least one friend who is more family than some of your third-cousins-five-times-removed. They are your ride or die. They have been with you through every weird definitive moment that has rocked your world in recent history. They are superior over just about every other relationship that can be created. You don’t mess with them.
GIRL POWER, LOSERS.
5. Last Time Lover
I wouldn’t tell just anybody about the fox that I’ve been chasing,
He’s resistant not persistent, it didn’t stop me from homing in,
‘Cause I’m choosy not a floozy, I get my hit and then I run with it
Sometimes, it’s best to keep your mouth shut about your recent paramours and conquests, and it’s undoubtedly better to go for quality over quantity at this point in your life. At the very least, save the good stories for brunch.
Mama I love you, Mama my friend, my friend
I didn’t want to hear it then but I’m not ashamed to say it now,
Every little thing you said and did was right for me
Every mother should get a paycheck bonus for successfully navigating their daughters through high school and college and turning them from hormonal messes into semi-functioning, mostly-competent adults. Your mom is your best friend and #1 champion, and as much as we hate to admit it, she’s always right. ALWAYS.
7. Who Do You Think You Are?
You have got to reach on up, never lose your soul,
You have got to reach on up, never lose control
First off, this song is totally underrated. Like, I want to hear this song on the dancefloor when I go out next weekend. Such quality.
Anyway, Mel C. is on point when she’s yelling at you to remain humble, even in the midst of massive success. You might be a superstar, but you’ve still got to prove your worth – even if doing so requires that you swing it and groove it.
8. Something Kinda Funny
Happiness is just a state of your mind
Keep searching, who knows what you may find?
Rules are for fools, and fool’s paradise is hard to find
There’s no prescribed way to live your life, and finding your own happiness and bliss isn’t something that you can simply follow the rules to achieve. Strive for your own idea of well-being, and don’t allow negativity along the way keep you from establishing something legitimate and wonderful.
Nothing but a smile upon her face
Being in various states of undress rules. I’m hesitant to reveal how much of my time at home is spent not wearing pants (it gives me a reason to invest in cute underwear, right?), but this song is about a girl owning up and finally being true to herself.
We should all do more of that, and by “that” I mean being honest with yourself and not wearing pants.
10. If You Can’t Dance
If you can’t dance, if you can’t dance
If you can’t dance, if you can’t dance
If you can’t dance to this you can’t do nothing for me baby.
This might just be me, but I dance disco in my kitchen while making dinner every night. Dancing your way through life just makes everything a little better, and we should all aim to find someone whose two-step matches up with ours.