Released: 9th October 2000.
Here we have one of the best R&B albums of the year. Packed with fantastic lyrics, funky tunes and perfect production.
Melanie B (yes that's right, the name has changed from G to B) has certainly lived up to expectations for her debut solo album. It opens with one of the Pop inspired tracks, "Feels So Good". Besides being Mel's second single, it is also one of the highlight songs on the album. Unbelievably catchy is the second track and also Mel's debut single "Tell Me". Which for me is the best track on the album.
Another favourite of mine would have to be the slow-paced, breezy, pop-inspired "Lullaby". An unexpected creation but should definitely be a single. Moving on to the more hard-hitting, pure R&B tracks is the standout "Hotter" and "ABC 123", is amazing and catchy which Mel's voice soars through. A track which may shocked many people called "Pack Your S**t" (although packed with colourful language) is a very interesting and original track, is also another personal fave.
Also included is the collaboration with Missy Elliott "I Want You Back" but is missing the cover "Word Up" which was a mad song, but Mel decided she didn't want anything to do with it because her former husband was involved in the production of the single (awww!). So those of you who decided not to buy the "Word Up" single thinking you'd wait for the album, looks like you've missed out.
From the cover of "Hot," it's already obvious that Scary Spice is going all out for an American R&B vibe for her debut album. This is confirmed by the use of producers such as Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and Jam & Lewis, famed for their work with Janet Jackson, among others. In fact, two tracks produced by the latter, "Feels So Good" and "Feel Me Now," could easily have been lifted straight from a Janet CD. But that's not exactly a bad thing.
Though Mel is known for being the "Loud One" of the Spices, her voice isn't exactly powerful. The eleven tracks heard here seem to bring out the best in her, and the result is good quality, commercial R&B.
The album hasn't been an instant success, and I'm sure the reason is an apparent confusion over the target audience. It's obvious that Mel is trying to widen her appeal to those who would buy a Sisqo or Destiny's Child album over a Spice Girls CD any day. However, tracks like "Pack Your S**t" are certain not to go down well with the parents of a 13 year old Spice fanatic, whilst the sickly sweet "Lullaby" will have R&B lovers reaching for an alternative. Therefore, even though she has a lot to prove if this album is to be a success, its quality may persuade cynics to give it a listen.
Stand out tracks include the possible next single, "Feels So Good," which makes you feel just that; the number one single with Missy Elliot, "I Want You Back;" the interesting production on "I Believe;" the hard hitting "Pack Your S**t;" and smoldering "Feel Me Now." Those are enough good tunes to keep you listening for some time to come. The one disappointment is the absence of the single, "Word Up." Though it didn't chart to Spice standard, I'm sure there are a lot of fans who would love to have seen its inclusion.
Overall, there's nothing new or surprising here, and Mel is far from the best female vocalist I've ever heard, but as a collection, it seems to have something to offer. My advice to sceptical R&B fans is to give it a listen and decide for yourself if it meets your approval. You might just be surprised!