Face it, the Spice Girls weren't just a sensation among gum-smacking, pony-tailed teenyboppers the world round. Their appeal extended to countless individuals who -- almost against their better judgement -- found themselves at first intrigued by all the fuss, and ultimately turned into vociferous defenders of the group either for their devil-may-care sense of humor, their plucky pseudo-feminist politics, or their torrential sex appeal. Or for the music itself, of course. (How easily we forget.) The band's tag-team vocals, melt-in-your-mouth choruses, and infectious dance beats quickly circumnavigated the planet and unified its inhabitants in global paroxysms of media hype. Astronomical record sales and the endless proliferation of web sites devoted to the Spice Girls provide incontestable evidence that sultry harmonies and precious pop melodies -- when properly marketed -- can be universal in their appeal.