Anna Tsuchiya

Nudy Show

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Nudy Show, Anna Tsuchiya's third album, is the work of an artist who's unsure of her direction, but still a success despite that. A former model gone musician, Tsuchiya is naturally expected to play pop music, but she never did that: it's telling that her most popular album, Black Stones, featured her impersonating Nana, a fictional punk rock star with a reckless attitude. Tsuchiya fit this image to a T, and on Nudy Show she mainly stuck to her strengths -- this is an intense rock record done with the help of Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit and Josh Freese from Nine Inch Nails. But the album was also an attempt to diversify Tsuchiya's appeal, mainly through old-school pop/rock ("Ginger" is a copy of Shocking Blue's "Venus") and clever hip-hop tricks of the kind that Timbaland specializes in. In a way, it works: the album of 17 tracks has no filler and a lot of strong hits (including "Ginger"). However, while Nudy Show is dead catchy, it just doesn't fit into the Procrustean bed of pop music: the tempos lean toward punk rock, the guitars have the industrial sound of Filter and, in places, Rammstein (just listed in reference to the monster metallic riff of "Blood on Blood"), and the singer's charisma has nothing to do with Christina Aguilera or Namie Amuro. Tsuchiya is a terrific, mature singer, probably only bested in Japan by Olivia Lufkin, and she can croon through piano-and-strings ballads, find her way around complex dance beats, and deliver a bluesy swagger without the hint of sounding forced. But, while she's good at all that, she's brilliant at dirty heavy boogies like "Cockroach" and sounds right at home singing fast adrenaline rockers like "Lucy" and "Ride On!," which fully utilize the power of her slightly hoarse voice. Nudy Show is still a great album, probably superior to Black Stones in songwriting and delivery, but one hopes that somebody will eventually shell out the money for another Nana sequel.

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