Thai Chau – Bai Tinh Ca Cho Em

Thai Chau is apparently very old school. His new release, Bai Tinh Ca Cho Em, is what you would expect from the man with the cool, ageless baritone: good old time ballads that either grooves you or gives you nostalgia.

The album kicks off with Khanh Bang’s “Sau Dong,” one of the Vietnamese’s favorite party jams. Thai Chau shows off his flawless breath control and slick, effortless flow for the cha-cha-cha beat. The next track, Nguyen Anh 9′s “Ai Dua Em Ve,” slows down the vibe, but on Lam Phuong’s “Co Ua” is when he gets real sentimental with the support of Ngoc Anh whose smoky contralto is a perfect match to Thai Chau’s charming baritone. Their rendition of “Co Ua” is as hypnotic as the version of Don Ho and Lam Thuy Van. In fact, their version could be even more intoxicating if the programmed drums were left out and just let the piano backs up their vocals.

On Manh Chuong’s “Thuong Hoai Ngan Nam,” Thai Chau sings like a bird with a broken wing. He glides up and down the octave in such an easygoing effort. Sadly, the mechanical production brings the song down a notch. On the other hand, his up-tempo duet with Loan Chau on Duc Huy’s “Yeu Em Dai Lau” is horrendous, as if an old man trying to take a young girl to the club. The dance remake of Anh Bang’s “Nhung Tam Hon Co Don” is also horrible thanks to Back Kieu whose falsetto on the high register makes the song unbearable.

Bai Tinh Ca Cho Em is without a doubt a throwback to the good old time. Sure, Thai Chau’s voice doesn’t really need any update, but he needs to take his beat to a higher level. Thuy Nga’s robotic productions simply do him no good. They are a waste of his soul and talent. He should definitely put more thoughts and investment into the arrangements.