08/13/2012 12:37 EDT | Updated 10/12/2012 05:12 EDT

Who Cares What They Say? I Like What I Like -- Spice Girls Included


Forget the Opening Ceremony performances, it was the Spice Girls appearance we were actually waiting for. So in celebration of the Fab Five’s return, we’ve used Spice World to inspire our favourite musician cameos. And while few can compare to when Elton met Geri, others earn gold for at least surprising us. (More than, say, seeing the Kaiser Chiefs cover The Who. Yikes.)

I turned 12 in 1997; just in time for the Spice Girls.

True, they'd been around for a year before, but because I was previously obsessed with lip-syncing to Celine Dion alone in my bedroom, it took a while for "Wannabe" to replace "Falling Into You." And then it did.

I learned the dance moves. I bought the CDs. And my best (and only) friend supported my choice to buy both Baby and Posh Spice dolls because their outfits reflected completely different states of mind.

We began scrapbooking. Saturday mornings were for spending our babysitting money on stickers, chocolate bars, candy, gum and those postcards that looked like photographs, and our afternoons were for organizing said paraphernalia accordingly because otherwise it'd have all been in vain.

I bought their live videos and their singles and on a cloudy Sunday, my mom took me and my Baby Spice-inspired pigtails to see Spice World. Afterwards, fuelled by their energy, positivity and message of empowerment, I started a fan club. Figuring the best time to get the 20 pages of "club information" in order was when my best friend was on vacation, I spent a week tirelessly combing through magazine articles to find and type facts like favourite snacks, favourite colours and quotes on girl power. When my friend came back, I gave her the binder -- but by then she was over them.

I was crushed. Not only did the Spice Girls represent something I wanted desperately to be a part of (a group of friends, to begin with), but our love of the band was something we shared. True, neither of us was popular, and our obsession with the Fab Five seemed completely insane, but we were in it together. And then all of a sudden it wasn't "cool."

Loving them wasn't the same after that. Instead of proudly displaying my Spice Girls dolls, books and posters, I felt like my commitment to "the cause" gave away my immaturity. So I moved on, replacing the Spice Girls with Aqua (it wasn't the same) and then later Titanic (but that was all Leo).

But the older I've gotten, the more I've realized how common that is. At one time or another, we all loved music so blindly that we didn't care about opinions or ratings or reviews or critics, and just loved it for how it made us feel. In my case, the Spice Girls made me feel like it was okay not to fit in because none of them seemed to, and they succeeded. (Now I know that was just good marketing, but why should I put down something that got me and countless other girls through middle school?)

In our old ages -- and particularly in the music industry -- the joy is gone. We put music down because it's too catchy, too popular, too pedestrian or just not cool enough, all while taking the joy out of it and using terms like "guilty pleasure" when turning up "Starships."

Like what you like. We chalk cynicism up to maturity, when in reality we're doing ourselves a disservice and missing out on having fun. Kids line up for One Direction and Justin Bieber because somewhere in their melodies, lyrics or sick, sick beats, there's something to latch on to -- even if it's a shared interest with their best friend. Let them have it, and in the meantime, let's stop stifling our own opinions and imposing our makeshift authority just because something's not "critically acclaimed" or for fear that we'll be told we're not cool.

Nobody's cool (especially if you once performed choreography to "Stop" out front of your house when waiting for dinner). So instead of trying to prove why we are, why don't we remember why we scream-sang Hanson once upon a time, or bought the piano music for "Barbie Girl?" For once, let's stop being all-powerful authorities, and use "kids today" to remind us that when we find joy in liking something, it's not necessarily a bad thing.

In the words of Amy Poehler, "no one looks stupid when they're having fun."

Check Out The Gallery Below For The Musical Performers At The Olympic Closing Ceremony

Olympic Closing Ceremony London 2012