On this most glorious of days, when Melanie C announced the impending release of her new album, Version Of Me, I am proud to continue the tradition of #MelCMondays. It is all the more sweet in the knowledge that in a few short weeks there will exist a new Melanie C LP, with at least ten new glorious pieces of music from the most musically dedicated former Spice Girl. Last week I played you ‘The Sea’ from 2011’s The Sea. This week, Mel C is vindicated.
‘Why Don’t You Kick Me When I’m Down…’
Of all the former Spice Girls, Melanie C has the most musical ambition. Northern Star was a platinum-selling masterpiece that cemented her power as a post-Spiceworld artist. Her second album Reason massively underperformed in comparison. Label conflicts regarding the musical direction of the album and single choices, as well as an injury sustained during her appearance on The Games, prevented proper promotion of the album, and ultimately its success.
If Melanie hadn’t been sharing a label with four other solo artists who happened to be former bandmates, all releasing music at the same time, she would have undoubtedly been granted another album with Virgin. But Spice stock was slumping, and Melanie was its greatest victim when in January 2004 she and Virgin Records parted ways.
‘Better Alone, my dear…’
I chose ‘Better Alone’ as this week’s Melanie C Monday anthem because it has an incredibly poignant message. It’s also a great example of Melanie’s ability to write songs about her own experiences, some of them very painful.
Following her parting of ways with Virgin, Melanie cemented her status as the only Spice Girl that really had something to say by setting up her own label, Red Girl Records.
Beautiful Intentions was her first independent album and it contains a fair amount of bitterness and anger. But for every angry moment, there are as many moments of acceptance and vindication. ‘Better Alone’ is one of those moments.
“I understand your point of view,’ the song begins, ‘letting me go, but I thought you had more faith.”
Melanie C, as a Spice Girl, was one of Virgin’s most profitable acts. Northern Star saw her set to continue that trend as a solo star. “You couldn’t pick a better time to give me the news. Why don’t you kick me when I’m down,” she spits on the bittersweet piano ballad.
Melanie has been honest about her struggles with depression and bulimia following her departure from the Spice Girls. From hearing her sing passionately, “I know I really should thank you for setting me free. It’s really amazing the changes I’m starting to feel, It’s not gonna be long until I’m feeling strong… Still I wonder if you ever wish you still had me,” it’s clear she had learned that being her own boss would absolutely be the best thing for her health and wellbeing.
Ultimately the song communicates a positive message, “There’s nothing left to fear. I’m better alone, my dear…”