Cover Smother: Marie Dahlstorm Chillaxes In A Spice Girls Classic

It's a little insane that Spice is celebrating 20 years of fizzy feminist pop perfection this year. Yes, the Spice Girls seminal 1996 debut is going to be 20 YEARS OLD come this November. So that means it's been 20 YEARS since I went to Sea World with my 4th grade class and smuggled my Walkman in with the Spice CD lodged in it and 20 YEARS since my four best friends and I tried (and failed) to re-enact the "Say You'll Be There" video during one of our many slumber parties. 20 YEARS. Not days, not months, YEARS.

While I take time to digest that, I have to give a round of applause to Marie Dahlstrom for highlighting how perfect a R&B song "Say You'll Be There" is. Yes, yes, the Spice Girls were always marked "POP!" with a hot pink marker, and their 'cartoonish' personas were often (erroneously) seen through a glittery gauze of style-over-substance, but the group's second hit single had an aesthetic that TLC and even Mary J. Blige would've felt comfortable to cop and refurbish as their own anthem about leveling the gender playing field. Noting such potential, Dahlstrom "Say You'll Be There" is stripped of all pop pretense (and sadly, its harmonica solo) and lounges in a cool pool of horns, pianos and velvet soft organs that feed well into the blues and rhythmic layers of the track. Staying true to the group's well-documented rapport, Dahlstrom procures Submotion Orchestra's Ruby Wood to trade vocals with, as Tinyman of ORPHGANG rap crew comes in to laid down several slick verses.

Whether Marie Dahlstrom is on that same mental wavelength as I am in celebrating a milestone anniversary of a childhood fave, or she's just teasing us for the second installment of her Renditions project (crosses fingers, toes, and eyes!), this cover is worth checking out and getting your chillax on.

...and since I'll forever be Blazin' Bad Zula...a live version from a 1996 Top of The Pops appearance for comparison sake:

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