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Girl Groupers Gone (Successfully!) Solo

EntertainmentGirl Groupers Gone (Successfully!) Solo


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I’ll be honest with you: I personally am not feeling the faux-subversive, macro-budget hyperpop left turn Camila Cabello is attempting to pull off on “C, XOXO.” So let’s instead return to a simpler time, specifically 2018, when this sweat-kissed and relentlessly catchy earworm ruled the airwaves. It still sounds like summer.

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If you were not, say, an impressionable 11-year-old girl when it happened, it might be difficult to fully understand the cataclysmic shock waves that rippled through the Earth’s atmosphere on May 31, 1998, when Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) announced that she was leaving the Spice Girls. And though Melanie C’s “Sandstorm”-esque hit “I Turn to You” is certainly the better song, I would argue that this hammy Shirley Bassey rip-off is the definitive Spice Girls solo single, for all its bonkers, you-had-to-be-there inanity. Look at her indeed!

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Sometimes the confines of a prefabricated girl group start to inhibit its more sonically adventurous members. Such is the case of Dawn Richard, who began her career as a member of Danity Kane, a girl group assembled on the third season of MTV’s “Making the Band.” Richard has spread her wings throughout an impressive but still underrated solo run; she first came to my attention with her acclaimed 2013 album “Goldenheart.” Her most recent solo album, “Second Line,” an inventive, retro-futuristic tribute to the music of New Orleans, featured this fluid and funky highlight.

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Though the K-pop juggernaut Blackpink is still together, all four of its current members have released solo material. The cheeky title of this 2018 single from Jennie — who last year made her acting debut on the HBO series “The Idol” — makes it an obvious choice for this playlist.

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The former Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland exposes the darker side of the girl-group-to-solo-star trajectory on this remarkably candid 2013 ballad. “Bittersweet, she was up, I was down,” Rowland sings, clearly referencing her former bandmate and longtime friend Beyoncé. “No lie, I feel good for her, but what do I do now?”

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And finally, the iconic and resilient Ronette Ronnie Spector reclaimed her autonomy with a solo career, which includes the spirited 2006 album “The Last of the Rock Stars.” That LP featured some impressive guests, like Patti Smith and Keith Richards, but its high point is probably this collaboration with Joey Ramone. Spector’s wistful, weathered wail reanimates this soulful Johnny Thunders tune.



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