Although she wasn't anointed Indie Spice by the British music press until after the Spice Girls' second album, Melanie Chisholm always made it clear that she preferred Blur to Take That. Of course, her personal musical tastes never surfaced on the Spices' albums, which may be the reason she is the first Spice to release a solo album while still in the group. With her debut, Northern Star, Mel C wants to break from her Sporty Spice persona while proving herself as a legitimate musician and she does, more or less, with a surprisingly diverse record. Melanie C has a fairly strong voice, a good sense of melody, and carries a tune with some personality, which is one of the reasons why the genre-hopping of Northern Star works. She can convincingly deliver everything from the pop balladry of the title track to the snarling, neo-industrial punk statement of purpose "Goin' Down." And it's a good thing that she can sound convincing on a variety of different styles, since Northern Star attempts to summarize pop music circa 1999. It begins with "Go!," a William Orbit-produced slice of swinging '60s pop with electronica underpinnings, and closes with the ballad "Feel the Sun." In between, she tries a bit of everything -- Brit pop on "Suddenly Monday," post-Garbage modern rock on "Ga Ga," techno-inflected dance on "I Turn to You," urban balladry on "Never Be the Same Again" (complete with a rap by Left Eye Lopes), and melodic adult pop on "Why." Certainly, that's a bit more stylistically schizophonic than Geri Halliwell's album, but that's its charm. It's not a knock-out, yet Northern Star is a solid, well-crafted alterna-pop of modest but palpable charms.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine