November 01, 1999 12:00 PM

Melanie C (Virgin)

“We’re turning into Spice Women now,” Melanie Chisholm, the 25-year-old Liverpudlian better known as Sporty Spice, says in press material accompanying the release of her first solo album. While sister Spice Girls Scary and Posh are now married with children, Chisholm delivers a musical offspring designed to defy those who dismiss the Spice Girls as lip-synching marionettes. (And she has jettisoned her tomboy sweats for a more Punk Girl look.) Chisholm, who cowrote and nicely warbles all 12 tunes, also trades her bubblegum sound for more varied, if not especially hard-edged, dance-pop rhythms. She gets help from an impressive lineup of collaborators, including TLC’s Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes (who raps on “Never Be the Same Again”) and producers Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers) and William Orbit (Madonna‘s Ray of Light).

Bottom Line: Surprisingly tangy fare from a well-seasoned Spice

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