If music were his spouse, Quang Tuấn is a faithful man. He doesn’t cheat because he makes no attempt on experimenting with new styles. As a result, his work is very predictable. Even without listening to his new release Chiều Vàng, anyone who has heard of Quang Tuấn previous works would get a sense of how he would sing the songs.
On the positive side, Quang Tuấn’s dedication on nurturing the relationship with music and honing his skills paid off. He delivers “Tình Rơi” (Hồ Đăng Long) with a flawless effort. He rides the semi-classical arrangment with poise and elegant. His rendition of “Đường Xa Vạn Dặm” (Trịnh Công Sơn) is damn near perfection as a homage than a reinterpretation. Staying with the written melody worked out well in those cases, but Quang Tuấn could learn a thing or two from his mentor Tuấn Ngọc on the subtlety of flying off notes on “Xin Trả Nợ Người.”
While some of the jazzy arrangements add a bit of new flavors to the classic tunes, Quang Tuấn’s dead-on interpretations, like “Chiều Nay Không Có Em” (Ngô Thụy Miên) and the title track, are a tad tiring. “Đoá Hoa Vô Thường (Trịnh Công Sơn), which clocks in nine and a half minutes, gets worn out even with some uptempo switch-up.
For an independent production, Chiều Vàng is a commendable effort. At the same time, Quang Tuấn has complete creative freedom to do whatever he wants and to break himself out of the box.