Which Spice Girl had the best solo career?

2014-06-12
Yesterday (June 11) Mel B joined the judging panel of The X Factor, and Geri Halliwell sort of said she isn't giving up on pop, and this got us thinking: which Spice Girl has had the best solo career? So here you go, this is the debate to end all debates. Five Attitude writers picked their favourite Spice Girl, and argued for her hard. Find out what they had to say below, and let us know your own opinion at the end of the article. spicegirls Emma Bunton Albums: A Girl Like Me (2001), Free Me (2004), Life In Mono (2006) UK Top Ten Hits: 7 I may be in the minority, but I’ve always thought Emma Bunton has the best voice in the Spice Girls. Yes, Mel C may be able to belt it out, but if you listen to the Spice back catalogue you’ll find that it’s Baby who shines on a lot of songs, particularly in the Forever era (see deep cuts Time Goes By and If You Wanna Have Some Fun for proof). Out of all the Spice Girls, Bunton probably had the biggest challenge ahead of her when the group disbanded in 2000. The other girls could easily keep up their Spice personas if they chose to (Victoria made a whole new career out of hers, at the end of the day), but how long could Bunton really keep playing up to the Baby image? Pink dresses and pigtails on a solo artist in her late-twenties would have been a little strange. In my opinion, it was album two when Baby grew up, and really hit her stride. With a throwback Motown/’60s sound, Free Me is probably the most unique solo Spice album to date. Emma’s solo career gave us so many underrated pop gems, from her sole number one single What Took You So Long? to the less-loved follow-up Take My Breath Away, to the bizarre, but loveable Crickets Sing for Anamaria. However, 2004’s Maybe is most definitely her masterpiece. The fact it only made it to number six on the UK's Official Singles Chart continues to mystify a decade later, and the fact it is absent from her official VEVO channel is an even greater tragedy. Can somebody rectify this immediately, please? The accompanying music video – inspired by the film Sweet Charity – gave us Baby Spice like we’d never seen her before, and it was amazing. (Sam Rigby) Signature hit: Maybe Geri Halliwell Albums: Schizophonic (1999), Scream If You Wanna Go Faster (2001), Passion (2005) UK Top Ten Hits: 8 It was a sad day in 1998 when Geri Halliwell announced her exit from the Spice Girls. I know for me it seemed like the world was about to implode. That was, until roughly a year later when Gezza returned with her debut solo single, the game-changing statement of intent Look At Me. Geri was back, all four versions of her: the vamp, the bitch, the virgin and the sister. Her second single, the Latin-infused anthem Mi Chico Latino, proved that the Union Jack-wearing singer was more than a one trick pony, settling nicely at Number One. It was at this moment that Geri’s historic chart run began, and she quickly notched up two more chart-toppers, the emoshe ballad Lift Me Up and the spunky disco banger Bag It Up, both lifted from her double-platinum debut album Schizophonic. A super-lithe Geri returned two years later with her platinum-selling second album Scream If You Wanna Go Faster. This album included her smash hit cover of gay anthem It’s Raining Men, which provided Gezza with her fourth Number One.That's a tally that's only just been matched by another British female solo artist, Rita Ora, who racked up her fourth Number One with I Will Never Let You Down last month. Graciously, Geri tweeted at Rita to say well done. G-Halz may have tried her hand at everything from writing children’s books to judging reality hows in recent years, but her pop career isn't beyond resuscitation . Her 2004 single Ride It is a slag-banger for a generation and even managed to crack the top five. Even last year’s so-bad-it's-good Australia-only single Half Of Me got people talking. So, whether it's emerging from a giant pair of legs at the Brit Awards or making an unforgettable cameo in an episode of Sex and the City, Geri’s the only Spice Girl who’s remained fun, flirty and downright outrageous. And while the other Girls might have more "class" and natural ability, it’s Geri’s solo career that everyone remembers. (Alim Kheraj) Signature hit: Look At Me Melanie B Albums: Hot (2000), LA State of Mind (2005) UK Top Ten Hits: 4 Mel B isn't just a great set of abs, a dedicated wearer of leopard-print and the best thing to happen to The X Factor UK since the American edition got cancelled and freed up Simon Cowell; she's also an underrated solo star who was serving pop-R&B realness before Rihanna even understood what her crotch was. Back in 1998, the Leeds diva became the first Spice Girl to score a solo Number One with her Missy Elliott collaboration I Want You Back, a properly cool and credible urban pop track that in the subsequent 16 (!) years has held up every bit as well as Mel's bangin' body. Two years later, she released her debut album, Hot, which featured production from A-list R&B hitmakers including Jam & Lewis (who did a lot of classic Janet) and Teddy Riley (who worked with Janet's brother, Michael). The album yielded a trio of brilliant singles: the irresistible summer jam Feels So Good, the meltingly lovely Lullaby, and the fagburn-fierce Tell Me, which was essentially a three-and-a-half-minute "fuck you!" to her estranged husband, Jimmy Gulzar. "All you loved was Mel B's money," she sings on the second verse - what a lyric. Meanwhile, album deep cut Pack Your Shit also featured some memorable Mel zingers aimed at Gulzar. "You said you hooked up but you never fucked her," she sings, "So what the hell is this shit on my covers?" Well, quite - and I hope you sent him the laundry bill, Melanie. Five years later, Mel returned with a second solo album, LA State of Mind, that even she would concede was a zero-budget, half-arsed mess. So let's pretend it never happened (Mel does) and skip to last year, when she stormed back into the charts - OK, not the charts, but certainly gay bars that have video screens - with For Once In My Life, a massive banger whose video found Mel B kissing a sexy clone of herself. How gay. If you're still not convinced by Mel B as a proper solo star, consider this: back in 2007, shortly after she'd broken up with Eddie Murphy, it was rumoured that she'd recorded a comeback single called Beverly Hills Cock. Nobody would think to make up something like that about a shit popstar, would they? (Nick Levine) Signature hit: Feels So Good Melanie C Albums: Northern Star (1999), Reason (2003), Beautiful Intentions (2005), This Time (2007), The Sea (2011), Stages (2012) UK Top Ten hits: 7 OK, so she was nobody’s favourite Spice Girl, but Mel C arguably shone brightest when she went it alone, pipping Geri to the post and officially becoming the biggest-selling band member with over two million solo record sales. It all started when she teamed up with Bryan Adams in November 1998 to release sing-a-long anthem When You’re Gone – which still holds the record as the highest-selling solo Spice song of all-time. It was a crafty move for Chisholm, establishing her as a credible artist who could combine elements of rock, pop and R&B. From the Hole-esque grunge of Goin’ Down and ambient pop of Northern Star to the hands-in-the-air trance of I Turn to You, Mel’s eclectic musical output has aged far better than that of her bandmates. Her pièce de résistance is undoubtedly Lisa ‘Left-Eye’ Lopes collab Never Be the Same Again, which became her first of two chart-toppers back in 2000. The sultry R&B sound and on-point feature was topped only by the video, which saw slow motion shots of Mel jumping and performing a synchronised Tai-Chi routine with the late TLC member. Follow-up albums Reason and Beautiful Intentions might have failed to live up to Northern Star’s success but are still very listenable pop-rock collections. And while Bunton and Brown turn their hand to Heart Radio slots and reality shows respectively, Mel C has stuck to what she knows best and is still producing bona fide bangers to this day. I dare you listen to the 7th Heaven remix of 2011’s Think About It and tell me that Sporty doesn’t deserve the joy of being crowned the ultimate ‘Solo Spice’. As the first and only female songwriter to write or co-write eleven UK Number One singles, her influence on the pop landscape can’t be understated. (Will Stroude) Signature hit: Never Be the Same Again Victoria Beckham Albums: Victoria Beckham (2001) UK Top Ten Hits: 4 If I’m being painfully honest (and I often am), the solo careers of all the Spice Girls were poorer than Sarah Ferguson when she was filmed trying to sell Prince Andrew to the News of the World. So when I was asked to argue which was best, I thought fuck it: I may as well go for the worst. Victoria’s handful of tracks are deeply rooted in the dance-pop of the early noughties – a difficult time for most people – but even more difficult if you’re making the painful transition from chav to Goddess. Nevertheless, she looks smoking hot in every video. The sultry Not Such An Innocent Girl is concept-heavy with a good and evil Victoria, but Let Your Head Go really raises the stakes as she raves it out in a maniacal flower-chopping scene which gives way to the most pouty section in a music video ever. Arguably her finest moment came with Out of Your Mind a bizarre collaboration with UK garage duo True Steppers and Dane Bowers (her agent was on top form that day). For it was here in the song’s painfully 2000 outro that Posh delivered the most immortal line of her career (“Bloody Sunday drivers” aside), to which justice can only be done by a full reproduction. True Steppers, you’re outta your mind Ice cream, you’re outta your mind Ten below, you’re outta your mind Dane, you’re outta your mind This tune’s gonna punish you I have come to this conclusion: Victoria’s solo career was the best, because despite minimum input (the verses of Mind of Its Own are practically spoken word) she still managed to gain more in life than any of the other four Spice Girls. Who gives a shit that her second album was shelved and she never had a Number One? She went to the Royal Wedding. She has Anna Wintour on speed dial for crying out loud! Is she ‘DJing’ on a London radio station no one listens to, or singing songs about apples? No, she is not. She probably doesn’t even listen to the radio, and she certainly doesn’t eat apples, and she is pleased as punch with herself, thank you very much. So she only had a couple of hits: as any fashionista will proudly tell you, less is more. (Ben Kelly) Signature hit: Not Such An Innocent Girl Which Spice Girl do you think had the best solo career? Let us know below.