Amber’s third studio album, Naked, was preceded by the hit “Yes!,” a song built around an excerpt from James Joyce’s classic Ulysses (“I put my arms around him, yes, and drew him down to me so he could feel my breast and his heart was going like mad”). Remarkably, the track matches—if not exceeds—the frothy clubland calling of her 2000 anthem “Sexual (Li Da Di).” Having discarded long-time producers the Berman Brothers, Amber spreads her wings beyond mere club fodder with midtempo tracks like the gospel-tinged “You’re Sent from Heaven,” the synth-pop swirl of “Love on You” and the symphonic “The Smile of My Child.” Much of Naked could be construed as a religious nightclub experience, with tracks like “He” and “Heavenly Proximity” marking the dawn of what could be coined “Contemporary Christian Club Music.” Amber battles sin and desire (“Dirty Thoughts”), restraint and “intellectual ecstasy” (“Sex Without Sex”) throughout the album; even her “need to be naked” is spiritual, not physical. But that’s not to say she doesn’t tread familiar club-camp territory: “All these clothes just come between us!” she sighs on the album’s second single, “The Need to Be Naked,” while “Sex & The City” might be the final shred of proof that Amber really is a gay man. In fact, the same words many American critics used to describe Ulysses in the 1930s could be used to characterize Amber’s Naked: obscene, blasphemous, dirty and, quite frankly, irresistible.
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