If you’re driving somewhere with the windows down this summer and hear Spice Girls blasting from the car you’re passing, it’s probably me. Or, rather, it’s my kids. They are completely obsessed with the music of the Spice Girls, begging and pleading for me to play their album every time we get in the car. I have listened to Wannabe on repeat on more road trips than I can count, and a recent camping trip involved listening to the entire “Best Of” album three times in a row on our drive to the campsite.
I know what you’re thinking: where the hell is Raffi or Fred Penner on my kids’ playlist? Or even some cool modern kids music like They Might Be Giants, or Jack Johnson, or Lisa Loeb? I’ve tried, trust me. A long time ago, I bought the ABCs album by They Might Be Giants, thinking I would be the cool mom with kids who loved amazing music because they were introduced to it at a young age. And while they definitely love Raffi, who is clearly not as cool as They Might Be Giants, this girl power group from the 90’s has absolutely captivated my two little ones.
Truthfully, them discovering the Spice Girls was kind of an accident. I mean, I need to own up to the fact that I do actually possess a digital copy of their “Best Of” album, but it was in my library because I got it on sale and was building a campy playlist of music to workout to, years ago. And really, when you’re trying to build a playlist of campy songs, is there a better genre than 90’s pop?
I started building up that playlist, which turned into a motley grouping of songs from four decades. On the docket was music by Queen, Paul Simon, Prince, The Beatles, Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and Pharrell Williams. Whatever, don’t judge. I know it’s a strange combination, but each song made me happy, which is why I chose to call the playlist “Happy.”
My daughter has always been a fairly emotional kid, especially during long drives, and I have a very particular method of dealing with a screaming kid while I’m driving: I turn on fun music (fun for me, specifically), and turn it way up. You can call me callous if you want, but when you’re driving on the highway with nowhere to pull over and all your child wants is the stuffy she didn’t bring, you can either ignore the crying or drown it out. Sometimes, I choose the latter option.
So, I began playing my Happy songs for her. I sang along. I got her clapping. And pretty soon, she was asking for that playlist all on her own.
At a certain point, both my kids zoned in on the one Spice Girls song, and wanted to hear more from them. I put on the album and played “Wannabe,” and the rest is history.
What I find incredibly interesting is that, for the most part, I still enjoy listening to their campy songs. They’re well crafted pop songs with a good hook and catchy words. I find myself singing along every time, and now my kids know the words too. The Spice Girls are a family affair (well, don’t ask my husband to sing along) and it’s kind of adorable.
It’s also way more fun than listening to Baa Baa Black Sheep on repeat. Trust me.