Last week, Mel B tossed a tantalizing hint at the thirsty hearts of Spice Girls fans around the world. Toward the end of an interview where she sang the praises of Adele’s recent "Spice Up Your Life" cover, she casually mentioned that the band is contemplating another reunion. "I can’t really say what is happening because we haven’t like pinpointed that down, but we’re definitely in talks and moving forward in making something happen to celebrate," she said. "We definitely want ... to be able to celebrate with our fans that have been with us for many years, and celebrate the whole girl power generation."
No. I have some bad news for you. We are all on the wrong side of history. The Spice Girls should not reunite. Deep down, you know it’s true.
It's been 20 years since Spice Girls released their debut LP, impacting pop culture nearly as dramatically as they impacted schoolyards around the world. Not only were we introduced to the splendour of terms like "Zig-a-zig-ah," but "Girl power!" became a battle cry to the high heavens while we bestowed friends with pseudonyms like Baby, Scary, Sporty, Ginger, and Posh.
For some of us, our entire middle school experiences could be summed up by our embracing of Spice culture. My (only) friend and I spent all our available dollars on Fab Five paraphernalia, building scrapbooks, collecting postcards, and investing in the tie-in doll we related to the most. For many tweens in the ’90s, the Spice Girls were less a group than a cultural and societal event.
And then Ginger left, and the crew disbanded, and we all moved on — until they got back together in 2007 for a reunion tour.
Which was wonderful, or so I’ve been told. While I wasn’t physically at any of those shows (because hello, good luck getting tickets when you’re only working retail part-time), the Spice Girls' first reunion tour drenched the masses in the type of nostalgia we had yet to become numb to. (Ah, innocent time before we knew what a listicle was!)
And then they came back again, performing at the 2012 London Olympics atop Austin Minis and reigniting the "I told you so" feelings most of us experience upon realizing that we really weren’t the only ones who had been so obsessed with the Spice Girls back then (no matter how cool everyone else seemed in seventh grade). After all, their first two records were awesome, their personas were novel, and their style is so legendary that it’s still being mimicked today.
Which is why it’s time to leave them behind.
I say this from a place of love. For two decades, we’ve pressured five women to return to the roles they played in their late teens and early twenties. We’ve held them to the standard they set back then, welcoming their current endeavours (be it solo work, X-Factor judging, or fashion design) with the persistent footnote, "But when will you be a Spice Girl again?"
We need to stop asking this. What is our problem?
In short: We care too much. Nobody’s calling for a Spice Girls reunion out of disdain. We want to relive the magic of our tweens, to hear their songs live if we haven’t already, and to share space with our idols in a way that only concerts allow. We want to pause time (or better — go back), to recapture who we once were.
But we should know better than this. It's a matter of public record that Victoria Beckham wants no part of any reunion, and that alone is a massive buzz kill. More importantly, though, we know deep down that no matter how many chokers we put on, we can never go back to 1997 (a bigger buzz kill yet). Our chill has been replaced by a logic-ignoring thirst. We don’t seem to get that to the Spice Girls themselves, the group was just a part of their lives. Not everything’s supposed to be forever. (Here’s looking at you, Gap Dream perfume.)
And that’s tough to accept, particularly in the wake of NKOTBSB reunion tours, Destiny’s Child at the Super Bowl, and whatever the hell Hollywood Vampires is supposed to be (I think: a warning that we all eventually die). Our culture is saturated by the promise of homecomings and reunion tours, and in that vein we’ve forgotten how to say goodbye. It's the worst case scenario for everybody, because imagine being asked to do the same thing you did two decades ago all the time! You’d weep in the schoolyard while rummaging around for old Pogs as you tried to explain that you have a new gig now, and you’d really, really like to talk about it.
So it’s not that I don’t want to see a pop-up performance, another Olympics, or one (1) reunion show involving all members to commemorate the magnificence of Spice World. I do! (I have a soul.) But to demand and pine over a reunion tour is beneath us. Because as fans, we do know how to say goodbye. The Spice Girls taught us that: