SPICE GIRLS hopes of turning round an imminent drubbing by WESTLIFE in the UK album charts by scoring big in the US have been dashed as ‘FOREVER’ looks set to limp lowly into the BILLBOARD 200 next week.
Last week (November 5), Posh Spice Victoria Adams stated she didn’t care that Spice Girls would not take the top spot at home because their priority was breaking the States.
“At the end of the day we want to see how well we do in America. We’re looking at the whole picture, not just Britain,” she said.
However, an NME.COM investigation appears to show that interest in the girl band has seriously waned in the US in the two years since their last release.
Despite a heavy rotation of commercials on television, a huge volume of press duties and a very favourable retail price of $13.99 in some chain stores such as Virgin, many industry observers don’t believe ‘Forever’ will trouble current big hitters such as Jay-Z, Outkast or Limp Bizkit.
“The Spice Girls should hardly be jumping for joy,” said MTVi reporter Doug Levy. “Their new album will show significantly lower sales than their previous efforts. Their career is nearly over. And have you seen that album artwork? My God, what were they thinking when they let Sporty become immortalised looking like a 40 year old Las Vegas mom?”
The Spice’s are unlikely though to be bothered at all by Westlife, though. The group’s second album ‘Coast To Coast’, set to head straight to Number One in the UK today (November 12) by selling three times as many as ‘Forever’, will only be available on import before a full Stateside release in June 2001.
“Westlife will not come close to the Spice Girls in sales,” stated Levy. “In the end, as far as the challenge goes, it’s not even an issue here.”
“And this is one of those unexplainable cultural mysteries. By all rights, Westlife SHOULD be huge in the US, but they never caught on. Why teenage girls will drive 2,000 miles to get a glimpse of Justin Timberlake, but they won’t pick up a Westlife album is beyond me.”
However, Matthew Shelton, the spokesperson for Westlife at Arista Records, their US label, remains sure that they will break in the states thanks to their “Irish charm and good music”. He added
the only single they released in the US (the Mariah Carey duet of ‘Against All Odds’) went gold selling 500,000 copies, a feat shared by their first self-titled album.
Bryan Terry, chief researcher for TRL (Total Request Live), the hugely influential daily MTV show in the States, has a simple explanation as to why both acts have failed to ignite. The Spice Girls are “not a big deal here”, he told NME.COM, while Westlife are “lost amongst all the boy bands”. He added that TRL gets “barely any, if any” requests at all to play either of the two acts.