Necessary Evil is bereft of surprises and is pretty much as you would expect it to be.
Necessary Evil is Debbie Harry’s fifth solo album, and her first since 1993’s Debravation. She has thus far failed to produce a hit on her own as memorable as the many sublime pop nuggets Blondie created in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and this album unfortunately continues that trend.
Although she has roped in Blondie’s Chris Stein on writing duties for a few of the tracks, Necessary Evil conspicuously lacks the sparkle of the punk-pop pioneers’ output. Indeed, it would been a much more interesting exercise for Harry to call on a few of her many admirers among today’s young bands to pen some tracks for her, as Marianne Faithfull did so effectively for 2002’s splendid Kissin’ Time. That record produce such quirky delights as Beck’s electro workout ‘Sex With Strangers’ and essentially overhauled Faithfull’s sound for the 21st century.
Necessary Evil, on the other hand, is bereft of similar surprises and is pretty much as you would expect it to be – a collection of dance-pop tracks interspersed with ballads and occasional rockier numbers. With the right producers, this album could really have been something special, but unfortunately the melodies aren’t catchy enough and the grooves are a bit flat. Certain tunes such as ‘School For Scandal’, ‘You’re Too Hot’ and ‘Dirty And Deep’ hint at what could have been but, really, they’re flowers on an otherwise barren landscape.