Winner of Asia Entertainment’s 2007 singing competition, Quoc Khanh has quickly become one of the rising pop stars with his charming voice and cute look. On his debut, Van Mong Ve Em, he shows more than just those two qualities. He could also write and produce his own tracks. Unfortunately, the title opener, one of the two tunes he has penned, sounds like a soundtrack to a romantic Chinese TV series from the hook to the melody to the incorporation of the traditional instrument.
Production wise, Quoc Khanh obviously spends way too much time with Truc Ho. Without looking over the credit, one would have guessed that “Moi Tinh Tho” was written and arranged by his mentor. That’s not necessarily bad a thing. At least he could deliver Truc Ho songs such as “Dung Khoc Hoi Em” and “Nhu Anh Can Em” with soul and sincerity. In addition to Truc Ho, Sy Dan is responsible for a couple of arrangements including the robotic dance mix of Truc Ho’s “Van Trang Tinh Yeu” and the lethargic “Tieng Song,” in which Quoc Khanh desperately tries to please his father who has written the lyrics for the tune.
“Tieng Song” is the only song that Quoc Khanh sounds unengaged. His honesty and personality come through on the rest. Looking past the lollipop hits and lackluster productions, the strength of Van Mong Em Ve is his fullest effort. He seems to give his best. There are plenty of room and time for improvements. He is young with potentials and this is just a beginning.