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Melanie C's Music: 'Northern Star'
More famously known as Sporty Spice, Melanie C decided that she was going to make a name for herself. When the Spice Girls decided they were going to take a break (two of the girls were pregnant) Melanie went back to work and released her first solo album 'Northern Star' in 1999. Melanie made a move that most debut artists make with their first album, experimenting with different types of musical genres. The result is an eclectic album full of musical gems that should not be missed. A lot of people felt the same, as 'Northern Star' went on to sell four million copies world wide.
When You're Gone - This is actually a duet with Canadian artist Bryan Adams. While not featured on the album, I thought it was important to mention as it did help jump start her solo career. This is a fun little pop song about being lonely in love. Very, very adult contemporary.
Go! - A very underrated under appreciated pop song. A classic tale about the turmoil of a breakup all wrapped up in a bubble gum wrapper. The only problem that I have with this song is that the instruments seem to drown out Melanie's vocals.
Northern Star - Melanie's crystal clear voice shines on this ballad. The second single off the album, is a lovely song about finding your way through hard times. It doesn't matter if it's about a person, an object or a religion, everyone will find a way to relate to this tune.
Goin' Down - Debut single from 'Northern Star', this punk song that features Melanie growling lyrics about a ruined relationship and exposing the poor sap for any mistreating that he may have done. Raw and grungy, this would make the likes of Avril Lavigne proud.
I Turn To You - Melanie's fourth single and biggest smash ever. Originally a slightly electric pop ballad about celebrating that certain someone who makes all the dark skies go away. That special person who turns a bad situation into something better. A great song by itself, but once Hex Hector put his twist on it, the song really started to soar. It's actually his remixed version that appears in the music video.
If That Were Me - The fifth and final single taken from the album is a very simple, acoustic song dedicated to the homeless. While some of the lyrics are kind of cheesy, her heart is in the right place. 100% of the proceeds from this single were donated to help fight homelessness around the world.
Never Be The Same Again -This cool R&B infused song is the third single from 'Northern Star'. Featuring the late Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes. A smooth song in which Melanie longingly pines over a secret love. Left Eye adds a perfect rhyme to the track that makes the track into solid gold.
Why - One of Melanie's darkest songs, there is actually very little background music until you get to the song's chorus. It's very well known that Melanie battled a lot of depression while with the other girls, but I wonder what dark day she was having in order to write this emotionally raw song.
Suddenly Monday - A very classic Beatle-esque British pop song. Melanie cheerfully belts about the joys of having a secret crush. Bright and sunny, it's impossible to feel bad after listening to this joyful track. I think the album needed this song after 'Why' to help bring listeners back into a happy place.
Gaga - Another grungy alternative type song. A song about a dysfunctional relationship that both partners can't seem to get enough of. 'And it hurts, and it hurts... let it hurt!' Melanie sneers. Hmm, enough said. This song is also featured on the 'Big Daddy' soundtrack.
Be The One - Melanie decides to take it back down for this syrupy ballad. Accompanied by an acoustic guitar, she coos lightly about the perfect romance and her ideal partner. This is actually a very sleepy number, so I'm glad that they saved it for the end.
Closer - A lot of Melanie fans are going to hate me for this, but I think 'Closer' is almost verging on a country tune. While there are some electric elements that keep it from crossing that line, I can easily see it being covered by a country singer. The strumming guitars, the melody and the lyrics all suggest a cross genre opportunity.
Feel The Sun - This album closes with this beautiful and haunting ballad. For me, this track really hits the mark. Easily my favorite off 'Northern Star'. This song is about changing yourself for the better. It's not easy to change, and Melanie celebrates that. Listening to it, just makes me feel really good about myself, and a song like that just doesn't come around very often.
I think what makes 'Northern Star' really stand out is versatility. Even though she took different musical styles and just kind of mashed them together, it still feels connected and whole. The emotional lyrics really click with listeners. It is impossible not to listen to this album in it's entirety and not find a song that doesn't connect. What we have is an exceptional debut that everyone should have the pleasure of listening to at least once. As always, you can listen to these songs in full at www.melaniec.net
Standout tracks: I Turn To You, Never Be The Same Again, Feel The Sun, Northern Star
This is actually a reissue of the original album. This one includes the radio versions of 'I Turn To You' and 'Never Be The Same Again'. This is the version I recommend.