The problem of Vietnamese music is obvious. New singers pop up every day while songwriters fades away. Dieu Huong who made a few hits, including the notorious “Vi Do La Em,” is a talented lyricist, but a limited composer. Her new album, Hu Ao, sounds dull partly because of the cheap arrangements, but mostly because of her restricted range.
Musically, “Cho Mot Lan Quen” has a melody that is a reminiscent of a dozen of songs Quang Dung had covered. “Coi Doi Vui” is one of those cheersy (cheerfully cheesy) tunes that always assigned to the forever-young Don Ho. “Cho Em Hoi” is a slow ballad that progresses steady all the way until the end where Diem Lien gives a hair-raising belt out. The lazy-rumba “Tinh Mai Theo Ta” allows Y Lan yet another opportunity to do her namby-pamby delivery.
Trong Bac who is unknown to me handled the title track. He has a charming voice, but similar to Anh Tuan with lesser power. Although Nguyen Khang gives a great performance of “Mot Nua Tam Hon,” it sounds like some of her more popular tunes, especially the chorus. Not sure why Dieu Huong covers “Vi Do La Em” herself since the song is better presented in a male viewpoint.
One of the major weaknesses of Hu Ao is the crowded vocalists. The result is more like a piecemeal slapped together than a coherent production. Maybe her intention was to have a mix of voices to mask the similitude between the tracks, but still didn’t work.