Records: Rock: Spice Girls: Spice (Virgin, CD/LP/tape)

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The Independent Culture
Spice Girls: Spice (Virgin, CD/LP/tape). So how come Take That passed on their boy-band crown to a bunch of girls? It could be because of the hummable choruses (each song has several). It could be because the Spice sisters show more cleavage than Peter Andre. It could even be because of their "girlpower" manifesto, careful as it is not to put off the chaps. But mostly, it's because the Spice Girls go for primary- coloured, raucous, stick-out-your-tongue-and-have-a-laugh-with-your-mates fun. No wonder they're the pop sensation of the year. It's just a shame they sometimes spoil things by languishing in tedious swingbeat, or by swapping spice for all things nice on the execrably drippy "Mama". Spice Girls, good; Mummy's girls, bad. Nicholas Barber

Snoop Doggy Dogg: Tha Doggfather (Interscope, CD/LP/tape). There are few disjunctions more acute than the one between what Snoop Doggy Dogg says and the way that he says it. Nothing has diverted him from the ways of unrighteousness: the Dogg's profoundly unsavoury meditations on gang violence and the joys of beating up women are still delivered in a conspiratorial whisper so in touch with its feminine side as to be downright seductive. Ben Thompson