When I first heard Melanie C’s single Goin’ Down, an exuberant piece of ersatz defiance, I’m delighted. The idea of Sporty Spice turning Rock Bitch Spice is a rather appealingly fun notion. The entirety of Northern Star, however, is a rather disappointingly tame mix of dance pop and pseudo-alternative tunes. Not bad, but Goin’ Down set up expectations, all wrong ones.
There’s no doubt Melanie C can sing, her rich soulful voice surprisingly right at home in screaming or crooning. I love the title track, a lush, epic yet gentle song depicting the mercenary nature of people in the music business. I also love Never Be the Same again, with a nice rap bridge from Lisa “Lefteye” Lopes of TLC, and Ga Ga is cute. And she even returns to Spice territory with Stop-like Suddenly Monday, and goes all lovelorn in Feel the Sun.
Everything else is sort of throwaway, I’m afraid. They’re nice to hear, but not very memorable either. Come on, go on nasty on us, Melanie C! Goin’ Down is such a pleasure, it’s a waste that she follows it up with lovey-dovey goo-goo puppy love songs.