Diplo and Charli XCX Didn't Need to Remake 'Wannabe,' But It Rules

The Spice Girls' 1996 friendship anthem was already a classic. But Diplo is going to Diplo.
Queens, US
Diplo, Charli XCX
Diplo: Photo by Brian Stukes/Getty Images, Charli XCX: Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images

There are some songs that are sacred. There are some artists who transcended music and left their indomitable mark on pop culture. The Spice Girls easily fall into those categories. We are still outfitting ourselves in 90s attire—just look at the platform sneakers and space bun hairstyles they popularized that are still floating around. Unsurprisingly, their "Girl Power" slogan is still alive and well, and maybe even more meaningful now as the public reckons with the treatment of women in male-dominated industries.


But, we can't live in 1996 forever. We've already experienced enough reboots of classic films and I was fully prepared to draw the line at Diplo and Charli XCX's remake of the pop group's debut single "Wannabe." Except, I couldn't because it was actually good. "Spicy" is Charli and Diplo's take on "Wannabe," which trades the original's simplistic production for the tropical basslines Diplo has become known for.

The song begins with a beautiful guitar line, which isn't exactly how the Spice Girls would do it. The original production mimics Scary Spice's energy, but the guitars at the beginning of "Spicy" are enough to put you to sleep. The sound is hard to place. It's not quite dancehall, not quite reggaeton, which must have been what Rihanna meant by "airport reggae." There's no "Wannabe" without that hook, except the hook isn't there. There's no "I'LL TELL YOU WHAT I WANT WHAT I REALLY, REALLY WANT!" and more importantly, no "Zig-a-zig-ah!" But, it's chorus, or lack of one, makes the familiar song feel fresh. Is this the Diplo effect? It's actually kind of genius that they eliminated the most memorable part of the song and chopped the beat. Even though she's singing a song about friendship by herself, there's something about the way they chop the whole thing up that makes it feel alive again. By the end of the song, I am swaying. Oh my God. I apologize for doubting you, Diplo.

I apologize.

Kristin Corry is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter.