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Pandemic Playlist: Top 5 Spice Girls tracks that celebrate feminism and queer communities in full glory

The quintet dominated the British pop scene in the '90s and made their feminist ideals, including inclusivity, abundantly known
The Spice Girls (Getty Images)
The Spice Girls (Getty Images)

The Spice Girls debuted in 1994 with the chart-topping single 'Wannabe' that shot them to superstardom almost instantly. What set this group apart was that while many other female-led acts of the time conformed to one version of femininity that their labels deemed would be most well-received by audiences, the Spice Girls had each member representing a different type of womanhood: Melanie Brown or 'Mel B' was the bold and loud 'Scary Spice', Melanie Chisholm or Mel C was the athletic 'Sporty Spice', Emma Bunton was the young and innocent 'Baby Spice', Geri Halliwell was the sexy and vivacious 'Ginger Spice' and Victoria Beckham was the fashionable 'Posh Spice'.

Arguably, these personalities were rooted in existing stereotypes, but they nonetheless allowed for young girls and queer folk worldwide to see themselves represented in one of the biggest girl groups of all time. This was only made better by the fact that all five women of the Spice Girls were vocal feminists who advocated for 'girl power' and lived that truth by being the most commercially successful British group in North America since The Beatles. Not to forget how they helped pave the way for the invasion of teen pop acts in the U.S!

In addition to being role models to women and girls everywhere, the Spice Girls soon emerged as one of the most popular queer icons of the '90s, owing in part to their dance-pop sound, flamboyant outfits, and outgoing personalities, but mostly on account of their stance on equality and freedom of expression. Outside of this, many fans often read into the group's music, which often featured themes of women loving and uplifting their fellow women, as being thinly-veiled references to queer love.

Victoria Beckham, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm and Melanie Brown of The Spice Girls perform during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England (Getty Images)

But in addition to it all, the girls have individually been vocal about their support for the LGBTQIA+ communities. More recently, Mel C has collaborated with LGBTQ collective Sink the Pink. When the group went their separate ways, Geri in particular sealed herself as a gay icon with the release of anthems like her cover of The Weather Girls' 'It's Raining Men' which continues to be performed by queer artists worldwide as well as appearances on shows like RuPaul's Drag Race. The singer also received an Honorary Gay Award at the annual Attitude Awards in 2016. Her status as a queer icon would be further solidified following Mel B alleging that the two were sexually involved while they were in the group together, a claim Geri later denied. Problematic as it may be, to out someone as queer without their consent, this revelation was nonetheless used by fans as a confirmation of what they 'knew all along': that the Spice Girls were, in fact, at least a little bit queer.

Speculations aside, what can be agreed upon by fans of the group and beyond is that the Spice Girls have had a lasting impact on pop music as well as queer culture. Their very existence was revolutionary because it had five relatable young women rise to the top of the world and occupy a position that has not been topped by any other act since.


As their most iconic song, it can't be excluded from a Spice Girls playlist. It introduced the world to the most iconic girl group of all time, made 'Girl Power' the newest buzzword, and remains the one song every '90s kid still remembers the lyrics and dance to.

Written by the members in collaboration with Richard Stannard and Matt Rowe, the song asserts the strength of friendship between women. The dance-pop number received mixed reviews from critics, with some being pointedly negative, but it did exceedingly well commercially and catapulted the group to fame. It instantly became a hit among girls and queer folk, owing to its themes of female empowerment and solidarity, with the lyrics "If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends" being etched into pop-culture history forever.


'Say You'll Be There'

The song that nearly beat out 'Wannabe' as the group's debut, 'Say You'll Be There' was an R&B-infused track that recollected the girls' experiences together and, once again, asserted that their friendship would always come before a romantic relationship. Just like with 'Wannabe', the track was poorly received by many critics but nonetheless went on to be a hit with audiences worldwide. In addition to the song itself, its music video would go on to become a massive hit and remains one of the most iconic pop music videos of the last few decades.

Drawing inspiration from films like 'Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!' and 'Pulp Fiction' and featuring each member dressed up as techno-warriors that use a variety of martial arts skills and ninja weapons as part of their endeavor to disempower the men around them, the video saw the girls emerge as icons for the drag community. The Spice Girls' outfits from this video and beyond, most notably Geri's Union Jack dress, have come to be favorites among drag-wearing communities. In the years since, the members have gone on to perform with drag queens, even donning drag outfits themselves, further solidifying their bond with the community.


'Too Much'

Yet another track panned by critics for its heavy R&B influences that went on to be a hit, 'Too Much' was penned mostly be Geri while the group was, as Mel B put it in her autobiography, doing "two full-time jobs at the same time." In addition to shooting for their film 'Spiceworld', the quintet was crafting the accompanying album in a mobile recording studio set up in a Winnebago all while being constantly hounded by the press and fans alike. 'Too Much' is an honest reflection of their experiences at the time, detailing their physical and mental exhaustion while also highlighting that sometimes, the good and the bad go hand in hand. 

Just like with 'Say You'll Be There', the music video for 'Too Much' saw the girls playing different characters inspired by 'Mad Max', 'Poltergeist', 'Year of the Dragon', 'Gilda', and 'Batman Returns', once again demonstrating their love for donning alternate personas.


'The Lady Is a Vamp'

While just as much of a dance-pop as their debut album, 'Spiceworld' saw the girls experiment to a greater degree with their sound, with influences of everything from Latin rhythms to blue-eyed-soul and everything in between. The last track of the record, 'The Lady Is a Vamp', was an unexpectedly jazzy tune that had the girls listing off various Girl Power icons as well as musical influences primarily from the '50s and '60s, as if in tribute to those that inspired them or paved their way. This included references to many fellow musical and fashion icons, several of whom are thought of as queer icons as well. The video saw the girls play dress up once again, this time as all the people they were honoring.


'Never Give Up On The Good Times'

With lyrics that detail a few less-than-ideal life experiences punctuated with statements like "pick yourself up off the ground" and "never give up on the good times, gotta believe in the love you find," this song is a simple yet upbeat bop that serves as a great reminder that good times are worth holding on to.

A retro track that takes it back to the queer disco dance floors of the '70s, 'Never Give Up On The Good Times' was a feel-good tune that served to motivate anyone in need of a good pick-me-up. And in the current global climate, you certainly can't have too much of that!


Pandemic Playlist is a daily list of songs to keep you entertained instead of feeling drained while you're isolated at home. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEAWW to refresh your mood every day!