My Next Read: “Reach for the Stars: 1996–2006: Fame, Fallout and Pop’s Final Party” by Michael Cragg

Using the arrival of the Spice Girls as a jumping-off point, this fascinating new narrative will explore, celebrate and contextualise the thus-far-uncharted period of British pop that flourished between 1996 and 2006. A double-denim-loving time before the glare of social media and the accession of streaming.

The bastions of ’00s pop – armed with buoyant, immaculately crafted, carefree anthems – provided entertainment, escapism and fun for millions. It was a heady, chorus-heavy decade – populated by the likes of Steps, S Club 7, Blue, 5ive, Mis-Teeq, Hear’Say, Busted, Girls Aloud, McFly, Craig David and Atomic Kitten, among countless others – yet the music was often dismissed as inauthentic, juvenile, not ‘worthy’ enough: ultimately, a ‘guilty pleasure’.

Now, music writer Michael Cragg aims to redress that balance. Using the oral-history format, Cragg goes beneath the surface of the bubblegum exterior, speaking to hundred’s of the key players about the reality of their experiences.

Compiled from interviews with popstars, songwriters, producers, choreographers, magazine editors, record-company executives, TV moguls and more, this is a complete behind-the-scenes history of the last great movement in British pop – a technicolour turning-point ripe for re-evaluation, documented here in astonishing, honest and eye-opening detail.