In August 1998, speaking about the pregnancies of Melanie B and Victoria they spoke about already writing tracks for the album:
"We love performing live and have also been recording for our third album while here on the road."
Some tracks that were written with Geri Halliwell were not to be included in the album as stated in an interview in an Isreali television talk show:
Q: Your new album is due in Spring '99. Some of the songs (that) were destined to be there were written with Geri originally. Are you going to include them too?
A: (By Emma:) Umm... well, for the next album, we will be writing brand new songs; and, you know, we're taking it slowy and enjoying the process, because we've been very very busy, the last album we did was due with the film, so it was a bit hectic, but this time we're taking our time. We don't
want to say just yet when it would be out, 'cause, you know, we wanna enjoy it in the process. (Mel B in the background: takin' it easy, man!)
There were rumours that a track that was apparently going to be the most sexiest track to date and was to teach about safe sex.
Recording and productionEdit
During the Spiceworld Tour in early 1998, the group took on an initial project to write and record songs for a possible third album and a live album. The original concept for this "3rd Album" was to showcase solos songs, duets, and songs featuring all five members, in order to promote the idea that the Spice Girl were all individuals, yet could come together as one.
In 1998, it was announced that the third album would be full of covers and new songs including covers of Celebration by Kool and the Gang, Where Did Our Love Go by The Supremes, We Are Family by Sister Sledge, Sisters are Doin' It For Themselves by Annie Lennox, and Holiday by Madonna. Which were all later dropped due to Geri Halliwell's departure.
In July 1998, during the Spiceworld Tour, the girls headed to Nashville to record their new Christmas single "Goodbye". They also recorded "My Strongest Suit" for the musical "Aida".
Mel B commented on the rumors of the new Spice Girls album not being released until the year 2000 saying "That's a bunch of bullshit, we are in the studios now recording our second single, and our album is due out as soon as Vicky and I get a weeks break for our babies."
On August 2, 1999, the Spice Girls officially began work on their third studio album. Together with Richard Stannard and Matt Rowe, the girls began writing for the album at Abbey Road Studios in London. Several tracks emerged, including the songs "W.O.M.A.N.", "Treasure", "Go, Go, Go", and "Too Hot") but none of the tracks made it onto the final album and none, (with the exception of "W.O.M.A.N" – which was performed live on the Christmas In Spiceworld Tour in 1999), have been heard.
The group also recorded with Eliot Kennedy at the Steelworks Studios in Sheffield on August 16, 1999, and the tracks they recorded were "Right Back At Ya", "A Day In Your Life", "Give You What You Want", and "Pain Proof". "Right Back At Ya" was showcased in the Christmas tour and eventually made it onto the third album, while the other three songs were cut off the album.
On August 25, 1999, the group returned to London and began work with American R&B producer, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins – who had also worked with Whitney Houston, Destiny's Child, and Jennifer Lopez. – at the Whitfield Street Studios. Eager to develop their sound and image the group wanted a more American and urban edge in a desire to stay fresh and connect with a maturing fanbase. The tracks that emerged included the songs "Holler", (originally known as "Holler Holler") "Let Love Lead The Way" and "Weekend Love" – all of which made it onto the final cut.
On September 21, 1999, the girls returned to the Whitfield Street Studios, this time to hook up with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis – the men who turned Prince and Janet Jackson into global megastars, and who had worked with Mariah Carey, Usher, TLC, and Mary J. Blige. The result was the two most critically acclaimed tracks on the album – "If You Wanna Have Some Fun" and "Oxygen".
In October 1999, work on "Forever" ceased; Melanie C embarked on a solo tour in an effort to promote Northern Star, and Emma Bunton, Victoria Beckham, and Mel B began recording their solo material.
In December 1999 they performed live for a UK-only tour, named Christmas in Spiceworld, in the Manchester Arena and Earl's Court, also showcasing new songs from the third album. At their Christmas concerts, the Spice Girls performed "Right Back At Ya", "W.O.M.A.N" and "Holler".
As the album was further delayed to "late 2000", the Spice Girls previewed "Holler" at the Brit Awards on March 3, 2000, where they also accepted their "Outstanding Contribution to Music Award", and rumours flew around that the song would be their next single. The next recording session for the album kept being pushed back due to either the Spice Girls or Rodney Jerkins not being available. If it was absolutely necessary, the girls would fly out to Miami to work with him.
It wasn’t until April 10, 2000 – seven months after the London Sessions and nearly two years since Geri’s departure, that work resumed on the album at the Hit Factory in Miami, USA. It was late nights all round as the Spice Girls fought to complete their album. "Tell Me Why", "Get Down With Me" and "Time Goes By" (originally known as "When You're With Me") were all written with Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins – but Melanie C isn’t featured on the writing credits. At the time she was still concentrating on her solo career so the material was written without her, and she put her vocals on afterwards.
In April 2000, the group decided that the material recorded with Matt & Rowe and Kennedy the previous year would be shelved because it didn’t fit in with the R&B dominated material they had recorded with Darkchild and Jam&Lewis. The only song to survive to cut was "Right Back At Ya" – but only after it was heavily remixed by Darkchild, something which original producer Eliot Kennedy found very insulting. They had turned one of the best pop tracks he had ever done and turned it into a "plodding, boring, bottom drawer R&B song", in his opinion. The three other songs produced by Kennedy were leaked online in 2015.
On July 17, 2000, they returned to Whitfield Street Studios and recorded "Wasting My Time" with Fred Jerkins (which doesn’t feature vocals by Mel B and writing credits by Victoria Beckham) and they also remixed and re-recorded "Right Back At Ya".