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Album Review: Northern Star by Melanie C

Million dollar question (okay, for those of you who care deeply for the Spice Girls at least)--can any of the individual Spices create a (respectable?) singing career outside of the multi-colored, in-your-face, garish persona of the past? Melanie C makes a decent attempt on Northern Star--the opening drum and bass notes of the first song "Go," are exciting and unexpected, and the rest of the album too, with its pop/R&B; influences is surprisingly listenable, especially on Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes (of TLC fame) rapping on "Never Be the Same Again." Look out for the genuinely haunting title track. And as if to complete the metamorphosis, gone is the trampy Sporty Spice garb from before--the album cover heralds in the new Mel C with her pared-down rock-chick apparel.

Trouble is, the voice is still the same scratchy, little-girl voice as before, and the tunes, while catchy, are still the same teenage-targeted, forgettable tunes as before. Heck, the girl won't even use her full name, still clinging on to the Mel C moniker (it's Melanie Chisholm, if you must know). Solo album or not, this is still the same Spice Girls album dressed up in slightly more sophisticated hues. B

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