As I was going through my boxes of old CDs, which had been sitting in the basement ever since we moved into the new place, I came across Tuan Ngoc and Thai Hien’s Doi Mat Nguoi Son Tay. I brushed off the dusk, popped the CD into my stereo and the music sounded fresher than ever. With Duy Cuong’s lust, sensual orchestration backing up two of the best balladeers, what’s more can one ask for?
Thai Hien kicks off the album with the title track. I could visualize the sparkling, gorgeous eyes in Pham Dinh Chuong’s “Doi Mat Nguoi Son Tay” (poem by Quang Dung) through Thai Hien’s angelic alto. Tuan Ngoc follows up with a trip to memory lane in Cung Tien’s “Huong Xua.” The gentleness in his tenor along with Duy Cuong’s classical arrangement gives the tune a filmic nostalgia. Thai Hien returns with Pham Duy’s “Nuoc Mat Mua Thu.” Unlike Le Thu, Thu Phuong and Ngoc Ha who use their vocal power, Thai Hien uses her quiet tears to lyricize the sentiment of the song and the result is quite striking without belting.
The album only has two duet tracks and they both from Le Uyen Phuong. Only the first one, “Tren Da Tinh Yeu,” is truly a duet. The second one is just a medley with each takes on a tune similar to Asia’s approach on its video releases. Other than that, the album can be experienced from start to finish and on repeat. Doi Mat Nguoi Son Tay is definitely an oldie but goodie.