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Melanie C - Melanie C (Album Review)

Friday, 16 October 2020 Written by Sophie Williams

Melanie C isn’t afraid anymore. A maximalist flirtation between muscular EDM synths and buoyant, gleaming posi-pop, the Spice Girl’s eighth solo album is frank and affecting in its exploration of self-acceptance. Above all else, it finds true catharsis on the dancefloor.

A liberating collection that seeks to paint a three dimensional picture of Mel C—as Sporty Spice, as a mother, as someone who has spoken openly about fame, depression and struggling with an eating disorder—this self-titled effort bares her soul atop irresistible, glossy pop sounds and snappy melodies.

Brightly-lit opener Who I Am is an immense high, as euphoric nu-disco beats and a bass-led groove provide one of many fist-pump moments. “I was lost in the ruins of who I thought I should be/I forgot I was human, I must set my body free,” she affirms, finding solace in a big emotional chorus. 

On the slinky, confessional Overload, she describes herself fighting back, singing: “I don’t wanna be your acceptable version of me.” A woozy vocal lead stomps across an ‘80s-flavoured guitar line as the single tells a story of regrowth, while Blame It On Me is a magnetic club banger-to-be that sees Chisholm seductively in control.

Though the album offers a series of gorgeous, glittering numbers, a handful of tracks feel little more than serviceable. Chisholm belts with emotional intensity on Good Enough, yet its maddeningly repetitive, pounding chorus refuses to twist into anything greater than a temporary lull. Overly reliant on its razor-sharp guest verse from rapper Nadia Rose, broad strokes empowerment bop Fearless also fails to keep up the momentum, falling victim to washy production.

Yet if you take the padding away, you’re left with an album that’s powerful, introspective and largely impressive. You’re struck by the sense that Melanie C has gained a second wind, and that she is clearly determined to make the most of it.

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