Naked

Amber may call her new album Naked, but what she means is liberation.

Amber may call her new album Naked, but what she means is liberation. The singer/songwriter has stripped away ties with the Berman Brothers, who molded the early days of her career. You see, Amber now has her own agenda: The siren serves up trenchant ideologies about relationships, love, and—natch—sex; in fact, she co-wrote all but one cut on the set (and that one was written by her mom!). Fortunately, proponents gain an injection of attitude/opinion without sacrificing Amber's consistent ability to craft some of the great pop melodies of the day. Potential hits are smeared all over, in addition to current dancefloor smashes "Yes!" and "The Need to Be Naked," but the real treats come with the tempo down. "Love On You" undulates with playful sensuality, the apocolyptic "If There Would Be No Tomorrow" weaves a surprisingly dark tale, and the lovely "The Smile of My Child"—while self-indulgent—shows yet another side of this strong woman. In all, a triumphant stride that shows the many musical colors of Amber.—CT