Picks and Pans Review: Spice

updated 02/10/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/10/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

Spice Girls

It takes just one listen to figure out why "Wannabe" has zoomed to the top of the charts in more than 30 countries. The debut single from the UK's girl group of the moment is a slice of rap-lite confection, catchier than this year's flu strain and perkier than Kathie Lee on two shots of espresso. It's also lyrically...well, let's be kind and say "uncomplicated." After all, international pop superstardom is easier to achieve if everyone can sing along.

But just because the Spice Girls' brand of Euro-pop is simplistic doesn't mean that it's stupid—far from it. Spice is smart—well-crafted, well-produced and keenly radio-friendly. It's also sassy and brimming with tons of good-natured attitude and undeniable hip-hop and reggae beats. So while it's true that Spice isn't a work of great and meaningful artistic importance, it sure is a lot of fun. (Virgin)

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