Bang Kieu and Minh Tuyet on the same album? What was on Bang Kieu’s mind? Moving from Khanh Ha to Minh Tuyet is like trading in a Lexus for a Corolla. But most people love economical car and Thuy Nga is a business-oriented production; therefore, the collaboration is understandable. Pairing up an idiosyncratic combination to provoke curious listeners has always been Thuy Nga’s marketing strategy even though they know damn well that these two voices don’t go together. In their integrated-effort Boi Vi Anh Yeu Em, we can tell right away that they don’t harmonize on the opening duet, Thai Thinh’s “Phut Giay Minh Chia Tay,” with the way they trade lines. Bang Kieu sings high notes while Minh Tuyet stays in the middle register. When they join forces, he has to switch to a lower range to mesh with her weaker vocals.
Although Bang Kieu has a striking countertenor of a voice, I still can’t get over his feminine quality. He needs to smoke some cracks, weeds, and cokes or do whatever it takes to deteriorate his gay-ass timbre or roughen it up. I actually started to accept him when he performed with Thanh Ha and Khanh Ha on Paris By Night videos, but now he takes me back to when I first described his singing as a hen-esque voice (giong ga mai). Crooning bubblegum pop tunes only makes him sounds campier, especially on the Chinese-inflected “Boi Vi Anh Yeu Em” when he caramelizes the words “hoi em” and “cho quen” on the second verse. Why he chose to sing Phan Dinh Tung’s composition is beyond me. I suspect Minh Tuyet puts him up to it.
As for princess Minh Tuyet, whom is she trying to seduce by flaunting out her chest on the album cover? Even Bang Kieu has to close his eyes to avoid staring at her breasts. He knows better not to mess with Trizzy Phuong Trinh. She would beat the shit out of him if she caught him peeping at a younger girl’s cleavage. Minh Tuyet may look sexy (depends on the angle of the viewer) but she can’t make Phuong Quynh’s “Anh Da Ra Di” sounds as sexy as Ho Ngoc Ha could. From the raucousness of her voice to the voluptuousness of her groove, Ho Ngoc Ha epitomizes sexiness. Even her rap delivery is more sensuous than Minh Tuyet’s stilted flow. I heard Cam Ly’s version of Minh Vy’s “Ke Dung Sau Tinh Yeu” not so long ago, and now her sister covers it. Which one do I like better? Neither. I can’t eat too many sweet candies. They make my bad teeth more pejorative. But I am sure young people who have good teeth will chew on this album like a bar of chocolate, especially fans of Minh Tuyet and Thuy Nga, but Bang Kieu’s followers may be disappointed.