davidatlanta - 21st November 2007 - Issue 476

Pages 1, 24, 25, 26




AFTER YEARS OF SUCCESS IN MUSIC GROUPS, HEART'S ANN Wilson and Blondie's Deborah Harry each release successful solo albums this fall. Wilson's "Hope & Glory," her first independent project, sends a clear message against war, while Harry's solo, her sixth individual studio effort and first in 14 years, is all about fun.
Harry is stylistically all over the place in "Necessary Evil." The sounds on the album range from synth dance/pop, to hair-band rock, to punk to retro-'80s.
"I found it very enjoyable to do solo," Harry tells David. "I didn't have to think about anything except what I was thinking about. If I established a theme, I could go right at it instead of making the larger consideration."
The lead single, "Two Times Blue," is vintage Harry. Her vocals flow around the retro beats and showcase her slinky sound that soars to the high notes of the chorus and mines the deeper range of her register in the verses. Excellent remixes are available on iTunes from Stonebridge and the Soul Seekerz.
Some tracks, like "School for Scandal," sound more like something from Blondie, due to the more organic music behind Harry's slightly creepy vocals. (And, yes, in this track, Harry sings "the devil's dick is hard to handle." That alone is almost worth the price of the download.)

BLONDIE'S EARLY RAP ROOTS SHINE through on "Dirty and Deep," and Harry says that the album does "hearken back to the earlier Blondie thing" in spots. But she also says that this CD is a bit more personal.
Harry's voice has deepened as she's aged, and her lyrics contain hints of regret and sadness that would seem out of place on early Blondie albums. She considers her time with Blondie to be a "calling card" and the reason she is "so well established," but she also holds confidence in her own abilities and personal growth.
"I feel like I've gotten better - practice makes perfect," she says. "In the beginning, I was just trying to feel my way around a bit, and now I am able to have more fun doing it. It's not such a learning experience any more; it's what I really do.

ONE CONSIDERATION HARRY HAS always made is toward her sizeable gay fan base. Cemented during the early '80s, her status as a gay icon lives on with men of multiple generations. After more than 20 years, Harry still has one simple message for her gay fans:
"Rock on!" she says. "The gay community is being unnecessarily challenged in the government, and people deserve their human rights and their respect. If you're a good person, a decent human being, that's the way you should be treated."
Harry did her part toward making a change by participating in last summer's inaugural True Colors tour headed by Cyndi Lauper. She says she would do it again next year if invited.
On the album, she slows things down on "What is Love," which was featured on the "True Colors Soundtrack." "Needless to Say" is a beautiful addition to her own album, and "If I Had You" also shows Harry's more mellow side before the rocking chorus.
Harry cranks up the funk on "Charm Alarm" and goes space-aged on "Naked Eye." She might not pack a concentrated wallop on every track, but "Necessary Evil" still shows Harry has the "it factor" that placed her so firmly in our hearts long ago.

'Necessary Evil' is available on Eleven Seven Music.

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