One of the things I love most about Melanie C is her willingness to experiment. Her debut album Northern Star saw her leave the Spice Girls behind and begin to carve a path for herself as a solo artist. What do you do when you leave the biggest band of all time? You disappear into the hills of LA and cherry pick the collaborators of your choice, of course. William Orbit (Madonna), Marius De Vries (Bjork), Rick Rubin (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) and Melanie C crafted a masterpiece of an album that captured the pain, confusion, depression caused by her time in the Spice Girls and the freedom she felt after leaving the group.
‘Feel The Sun’
There are many brilliant songs in which Melanie C explores how being a Spice Girl made her feel. ‘Feel The Sun’ is one of my favourites. Melanie has been very open about how she felt toward the end of her time in the band. She was over-exercising and under-eating, a dangerous combination she was using to have some sense of control over her life, she sings: “Hard to function, I just need some routine / God, it’s obscene. When did they stop the fun?”
Melanie C wasn’t fully involved in the recording of Forever, the third Spice Girls album. She sings on ‘Feel The Sun’, “I knew that something must be done / To save the person I’d become / That’s why I had to run away.” Mel B reminisced in Giving You Everything, “I just remember her saying, ‘I’m not gonna be there for the full recording of the third album’…What can you say? You can’t force someone to come in and be Sporty Spice every day when they’re not feeling it.”
‘Feel The Sun’ wouldn’t be out of place on an album of Madonna’s, or one of Bjork’s. The minor key arrangement and slow-burning emotional delivery really drive home the meaning of the song. It was one of the last songs recorded for the album, and by that point she’d found her confidence, something she explores in the song. The track also perfectly captures the sun and arid landscape of its LA recording location, a place of escape for Melanie when she left the band.