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March 27, 1997

Old As I Wanna Be
Copyright 1997 - Greg Bulmash - All Rights Reserved

Can someone explain to me the success of the Spice Girls? Their lyrics are juvenile, the music unsophisticated... Basically undiluted bubblegum pop designed to appeal to silly pre-teens who don't know any better. But they're HUGE, number 1 in thirty countries, and they have adult fans. They are now being touted as bigger than Elvis or the Beatles (or at least bigger than those stars were at this stage of their careers).

And yet, as I watched one of their videos even before I knew that they were the latest rage, I was distinctly underwhelmed. In fact I actually caught myself sounding like an old man as I said "you call this music?"

Now I'm not saying that all of today's popular music sucks. Quite the opposite. There are some great new bands. Yet the Spice Girls seem to strike me as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers of the music scene.

Think about it... They're young. There's five of them. Only one is Black. They've got "attitude." And like the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the Spice Girls offer a simplistic delivery with the musical equivalent of a low-budget Japanese monster movie, cheesy rubber costumes and all.

Their big catch phrase in the video I saw is "I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want." I was watching that video and what I really really wanted was some production value. I wanted music that seemed like it had been composed by a human, not 50 monkeys at 50 keyboards, bashing away at random, trying to reproduce EMF's "Unbelievable." I also wouldn't have minded it if in this sad demonstration of female empowerment through sexuality, one of the guys they were teasing said "get away from me, you skanks. If you really want to be my lover, go read a book."

Maybe I'm just being an old chauvinist fart, but I've always thought that young girls in tight clothes who go around teasing men aren't called "empowered." They're called "playthings" and "arm ornaments."

You'd think that at 28, I haven't had ways long enough to get set in them, but this whole thing has the potential to make me feel like some old fogey. They're the most popular group in the world, and I just don't seem to get it. I guess it comes down to an either/or situation. Either I'm old before my time, or they really do suck and their fans have no taste. Well, you know which way I'm leaning.


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