Stop (Spice Girls song)
|Single by Spice Girls|
|from the album Spiceworld|
|B-side||"Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now"|
|Released||9 March 1998|
|Spice Girls singles chronology|
"Stop" is a song by the British pop group Spice Girls. It was written by the group members with Paul Wilson and Andy Watkins—the songwriters and production duo known as Absolute—at the same time as the group was filming scenes for their movie Spice World. "Stop" was produced by Wilson and Watkins for the group's second album Spiceworld, which was released in November 1997.
"Stop" is an dance-pop song with influences of Motown's blue-eyed soul, and features instrumentation from a guitar and a brass. The music video, directed by James Brown and filmed in Ireland, features the group in a traditional British 1950s working class street and showed them playing with young girls in various children's games. The song received mostly positive reviews from music critics, with many of them complimenting the Motown influences and production. "Stop" was performed by the group in a number of live appearances in Europe and North America including their three tours.
Released as the album's third single in March 1998, it peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, ending the Spice Girls' streak of consecutive number-one singles in the United Kingdom at six. It was moderately successful internationally, peaking inside the top twenty on the majority of the charts that it entered. In the United States, "Stop" peaked at number sixteen on the Billboard Hot 100 becoming the group's sixth consecutive top twenty on the chart. It was the group's last single that was released before Geri Halliwell's departure in May 1998 though it was not the last single to include her vocals.
Background and writing
In June 1997, the group began filming scenes for their movie Spice World. At the same time, Virgin Records started the first marketing meetings for the Spiceworld album's promotional campaign, which was set to be released in November. No songs had been written for the album at this point, so the group had to do all the song-writing and recording at the same time as they were filming the movie. Between takes, and at the end of each filming day, the group usually went straight into a mobile recording studio set up in a Winnebago, which followed them between film sets. The schedule was physically arduous with logistical difficulties; Melanie Brown commented in her autobiography: "doing the two full-time jobs at the same time took its toll and within a couple on weeks, exhaustion set in." The concept of "Stop" was mainly penned by Geri Halliwell. She came up with the first lines of the song and recorded them into a dictaphone; the next day she played the tape to Paul Wilson and Andy Watkins—the songwriters and production duo known as Absolute. The duo then worked with the melody and began playing with it. Halliwell commented on her autobiography:
I wanted something with a Motown feel. Mel C[hisholm] eventually finished off the chorus and we had the basis for a song called "Stop". Later, when we had more time, the other girls came in and we helped write the verses and bridges.
A 22-second sample of the song, featuring the group singing the first chorus. Followed by the first part of the second verse, which consist on the repeated use of the word do, with a backing track that is reminiscent of classic Motown's blue-eyed soul singles.
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"Stop" is an uptempo dance-pop song with influences of Motown's blue-eyed soul, and is reminiscent of classic singles by The Supremes or Martha and the Vandellas. It is written in the key of C major, with a time signature set on common time, and moves at a fast tempo of 132 beats per minute. Lyrically, the song calls for a slowing down on the courtship process, and it is particularly addressed to appeal to the young female audience, as the female to female bonds are not threatened.
It is constructed in a verse-pre-chorus-chorus form, with a bridge before the third and fourth chorus. It starts with an instrumental introduction, with a James Jamerson-style bass, that uses a chord progression of C–B♭–Am7–G, that is also used during the verses and the chorus. In the first verse, Halliwell, Chisholm, Bunton, and Beckham sing each one line. The chords change to Dm11–Dm9–Dm11–Dm9–Dm7–Em7–F major7–G during the pre-chorus, followed by the chorus. The same pattern occurs leading to the second chorus, the first part of the second verse consists on the repeated use of the words do and ba da, then Bunton and Chisholm sing the rest of the verse. The group then sing the bridge, and end the song repeating the chorus twice.
"Stop" was released in the United Kingdom on 9 March 1998, in two single versions. The first one, a standard CD single, included the track and live versions of "Something Kinda Funny", "Mama", and "Love Thing", taken from the set of concerts the group did in Istanbul in October 1997. The second version, also released in a standard CD single, contained the track, along with the David Morales remix, the Stretch & Vern's Rock & Roll Mix of the song, and a cover version of McFadden & Whitehead's "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now", performed along with American singer Luther Vandross.
"Stop" was generally well received by music critics. For Sylvia Patterson of the NME, the song is an "obscenely catchy Motown swinger", she added that it is "the proper pop genius destined to be number one until Japan falls into the sea". Rolling Stone magazine's David Wild called it "a retro, Supremes-lite confection that's as undeniable as it is unoriginal." David Browne of Entertainment Weekly characterised it as a "delicious re-creation of Motown-era bop packed with skipping-down-the-street good vibrations". Larry Flick of Billboard magazine said that it has "a bouncy, Supremes-like retro vibe", and called its hook "irresistible". Flick also praised the David Morales remix of the song, calling it "a vibrant, time-sensitive disco ditty", while Howard Scripps from The Press of Atlantic City called it "an obvious girl-group ditty", and added that it "is another potential hit". Conversely, in a review of Spiceworld, Andy Gill of The Independent, called the album a "perky but charmless parade of pop pastiches", and described "Stop" as a "pseudo-Motown stomp".
Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic, commented that the song "consolidates and expands the group's style [...] [adding] stomping, neo-Motown blue-eyed soul in the vein of Culture Club". Erlewine complimented "Stop" in a review of the group's compilation album, saying that it "is as awesome a slice of obligatory British Tamla/Motown as you'll get". Stewart Mason, also from Allmusic compared it to Bananarama's classic singles, and called it as "a glorious piece of utterly disposable but wonderful disposable pop". Sputnikmusic's Amanda Murray also complimented the track, saying that it a "is a thoroughly enjoyable upbeat song, completely carefree and lively". Music Week described it as an "upbeat, trumpet-led homage to old-school R&B. Very Motown-influenced. [...] an addictive dreamy summer sing-a-long". The Virginian-Pilot said that the horns on the song are "classic soul with a 90s tweak". Music critic Roger Catlin of The Buffalo News described it as "a jaunty Motown beat [...] [with] a progirl message". In a review of the group's Greatest Hits album, Digital Spy's Nick Levine said that "Stop" still sounds "like the best song that Motown never produced".
"Stop" was released in the United Kingdom in March 1998. It debuted and peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, being kept off the top spot by Jason Nevins' remix of Run–D.M.C.'s 1983 hit "It's Like That". It ended the streak of the Spice Girls' consecutive number-one singles in that country at six (from "Wannabe" to "Too Much"). "Stop" stayed three weeks inside the top ten, eight weeks inside the top forty, and eighteen weeks in total, earning a silver certification by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in March 1998.
"Stop" was moderately successful in the rest of Europe. It reached the sixth position on the Eurochart Hot 100, peaked inside the top ten in Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Wallonia, and inside the top twenty in Austria, Flanders, France, Italy, and Switzerland. The song was more successful in Oceania. In New Zealand, it debuted on 12 April 1998 at number thirteen, peaked at number nine, and stayed twelve weeks on the chart. In Australia, it debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at number eleven, peaking at number five in its fifth week. It remained twenty-one weeks on the chart, and was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).
In April 1998, "Stop" debuted on the Canadian RPM singles chart at number ninety-nine, reaching a peak of number three in its ninth week. In the US, "Stop" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on 20 June 1998, at number thirty-six. It peaked at number sixteen two weeks later, becoming the group's sixth consecutive top twenty on the chart. "Stop" peaked at eleven on the Hot 100 Singles Sales chart, but received little support from radio stations, and barely entered the Hot 100 Airplay, peaking at number seventy. The song reached number three on the Hot Dance Singles Sales chart, but only had moderate success on other formats, peaking at fourteen on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, and at thirty-seven on the Mainstream Top 40.
The music video for "Stop" was shot on 27 January 1998 in Ireland, and was directed by James Brown. About the concept, Melanie Brown commented: "There wasn't a storyboard for this video—it was more trial and error. It wasn't planned down to the last detail and was quite a free-for-all. It's like everything we do—complete chaos! [...] And we all want to get our bit in, so the director has to be able to encompass us all, plus put his ideas on top of it, and make it all flow.
The opening segment, reminiscent of a traditional British 1950s working class street of terraced houses, was filmed at Carnew Street in Dublin, and features scenes of each member of the group knocking on different doors. Then during the first chorus, the group performs a hand-action dance, that was also used during their live performances. The second half of the video, set in the small town of Rathdrum, County Wicklow. showed the group interacting with young girls in various activities, such as running around the streets dancing, skipping rope, playing hopscotch, cat's cradle and pat-a-cake, hula hooping, and participating in competitions of various kinds. The locals are depicted as working class people who attend the local fair or have a drink in the pub. At the end of the video, the group performs at a stage in the local hall in front of an audience of young and old people.
The song was performed many times on television, in both the UK and the US, including An Audience with..., Top of the Pops, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and the Late Show with David Letterman. For their "Stop" performance at the 1998 BRIT Awards, the group adopted a Supremes-like look, and appeared on the stage in a 1960-style car. The group performed "Stop" without Halliwell in Modena, Italy; for the annually hosted Pavarotti and Friends charity concert in June 1998.
In October 1997, the group performed it as the ninth song of their first live concert at the Abdi Ipekçi Arena in Istanbul, Turkey. The performance was broadcast on Showtime in a pay-per-view event titled Spice Girls In Concert Wild!. However, the VHS and DVD release of the concert, Girl Power! Live in Istanbul, does not include the "Stop" performance. In November 2007, the group performed together for the first time in nearly a decade at the 2007 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, held in Los Angeles, California. The group dressed in military-themed outfits performed "Stop" miming to a backing track, in front of giant glittering lights that spelled out "Spice" in the background. A taped performance of the group lyp-synching the song, while dressed in blue sailor outfits, aired on 17 November 2007 for the Children in Need 2007 marathon. On 8 November 2010, Brown performed "Stop" with the second series' contestants of the Australian edition of The X Factor.
The group have performed the song on their three tours, the Spiceworld Tour, the Christmas In Spiceworld Tour, and the Return of the Spice Girls. It remained in the group's live set after Halliwell's departure at the end of the European leg of the Spiceworld Tour, her parts were taken by Brown. The performance at the tour's final concert can be found on the video: Spice Girls Live at Wembley Stadium, filmed in London, on 20 September 1998. For the Return of the Spice Girls Tour, it was performed as the second song from the show's opening segment. The group dressed in tight bronze and copper coloured outfits made by Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli.
Formats and track listings
These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Stop":
Credits and personnel
Published by Windswept Pacific Music Ltd/19 Music/BMG Music Publishing Ltd.
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||200,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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