Tim Tan Huynh

Spice Girls – “Wannabe”

22 Feb 2017 — A brief though spectacular global phenomenon started around this time 20 years ago.

“Wannabe” hit the No 1 spot in the Billboard Hot 100 chart on this day, 20 years ago. The music video was playing a lot at the time, but I never watched the entire thing; I usually tuned out in the first minute. One time, I watched the video until the end, and by doing so, I finally noticed Posh Spice aka Victoria Beckham (née Adams). Needless to say, I became a fan of the Spice Girls thenceforth.

The song is memorable, if nothing else, and it’s still their most famous one, but it’s not my favorite. The video has that grainy, late-90s, British look, but the single-take style, which might or might not be shot with one take, is ahead of its time. The fisheye lens is unique, too. The decorations inside the hotel give a Middle Eastern feel. The various outfits of the Spice Girls, whether planned or not, establish their Spice personas.

The success of “Wannabe” marks the beginning of the brief though spectacular Spice Girls phenomenon, which probably won’t be replicated again, ever. Girl Power and the licensed merchandise came and went, but the Spice Girls paved the way for the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera then and Lady Gaga and Adele now.