For her fourth album, the independently released and pointedly titled My Kind Of World, club hit-maker Amber veers into the unknown, largely abandoning the Tommy Boy house sound that made her a second-tier gay icon (that’s a compliment) and opting for darker, more rock-rooted songs. Amber is to be admired for attempting to transcend the glass ceiling of Clubland (not unlike Donna Summer’s post-disco foray into rock or Kylie Minogue’s bid for artistic credibility with her electronica-infused Impossible Princess). But, put simply, My Kind Of World is the kind of album that could sink a career. There’s no doubting that Amber’s voice is worthy of more than just club anthems—there were hints of that potential on 2002’s metaphysical odyssey Naked—but the production values here leave much to be desired. While he led Amber into more downtempo pop territory last time around, producer Wolfram Dettki now cheeses her up with faux-metal riffs and demo-quality programming; “Private War” begins with a delicate piano intro but then builds into an overbloated power ballad, and Amber just can’t help but over-sing it. (The club splendor of songs like the spiritual “He” and “Sex Without Sex” at least made it easier to digest Naked‘s few indulgences, namely the rock-dance hybrid “If There Would Be No More Tomorrow,” which set the stage for My Kind Of World, and the syrupy, Bacharach-style “The Smile Of My Child.”) The addition of electric and acoustic guitars is interesting, but there’s nary a trace of Amber’s previous successes here—“Voodoo” is the only track that pumps up the BPMs and that’s not even until halfway through the song. After repeated listens, the album’s lead single “You Move Me” earns a spot next to the sadly overlooked “Yes!” and the crossover hit “Sexual (Li Da Di)” as one of Amber’s finest moments, but unfortunately none of the song’s numerous club mixes have been included here. Remixes of subsequent singles will surely keep club queens happy, but My Kind Of World is unlikely to turn Amber into an album artist.
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