There are two kinds of Spice Girls fans.
1) Those who know all the words to "Wannabe", warmly embrace platforms, sparkles and loud clothes, and think nothing of standing in line overnight to buy tickets to a Spice Girls concert.
2) Those who made fun of the Spice Girls' clothes with their friends and didn't own any of their albums but loved dancing to "Say You'll Be There" in the clubs. These closet fans would theatrically roll your eyes when they heard a Spice song in public but, when they were at home by themselves, would never ever switch from MuchMusic when a Spice video came on.
With "Forever", the Spice Girls have attempted to mesh their extroverted and closeted audiences by both toning down their former flashiness and giving their catchy brand of pop music a sophisticated twist.
Gone are the Spice Girls who pinched princes, raised hemlines and made use of Halloween make-up all year round.
In their places, Posh, Baby, Scary and Sporty stare up from the cover of "Forever" in simple, black, streamlined clothing. It's a kinder, gentler, more mature SpiceWorld now, and the music reflects it.
The album opens with the catchy "Holler," which manages to hold onto the old Spice charm while also moving into smoother territory.
In fact, "Holler's" R&B flavour is carried throughout the entire album, transforming what would've once been flat-out dance tunes into songs that fans can gently bounce to, instead.
That's not to say the album's devoid of hyper-jumpiness. "Right Back At Ya" has definite dance possibilities, while "Tell Me Why" is an upbeat, effects-heavy number that's comparable to the more out-there tracks on Madonna's "Music".
Fans of Spice ballads will be happy to note that "Forever" is heavy on the slow numbers. Songs like their current single, "Let Love Lead the Way," and the syrupy sweet "Oxygen" provide listeners with finely polished harmonies reminiscent of "2 Become 1".
And if it's the old Spice Girls you crave, try "If You Wanna Have Some Fun," a typically perky Spice song.
Ultimately, "Forever" is full of good pop music. The remaining four Spices sound more comfortable with the sexy R&B style than they did with the fun but screechy music of "Spice" and "SpiceWorld". (Not to mention looking more comfortable without all those huge shoes, too.)
The only way the Spice Girls will fail? If their die-hard fans miss the Girls' over-the-top style, and if closet listeners have gotten over their "Wannabe" crush.
Tell Me Why
Let Love Lead The Way
Right Back At Ya
Get Down With Me
Wasting My Time
Time Goes By
If You Wanna Have Some Fun