Bằng Kiều and Minh Tuyết aren’t just pop singers. They are pop savvies. Their latest collaborative effort, Lâu Đài Tình Ái, is the proof once again that they know exactly what their fans want and they deliver just the way their fans desired. They don’t challenge their listeners and they ruffle no feathers.
Like most new releases coming from Thúy Nga production, Lâu Đài Tình Ái is an album filled with old popular ballads. Both Bằng Kiều and Minh Tuyết are on-the-page vocalists; therefore, they bring nothing new to these new tunes. In fact, they stay as faithful to the written melodies as they could. The result is safe but sincere. For instance, Minh Tuyết’s solo rendition of “Đừng Xa Em Đêm Nay” (Đức Huy) is the only cover that comes closest to Thảo My’s original. While her vocal delivery is straightforward, Đồng Sơn’s elegant Latin arrangement makes the tune sounds fresh.
As for Bằng Kiều’s solo performance, his take on “Nha Trang Ngày Về” (Phạm Duy) is reflective and nostalgic. In addition to Tùng Châu’s simple, sensational arrangement, what made this version works is that Bằng Kiều has restraint himself from belting out his falsetto. I was expecting to hear him wailing out on the last bar, but thankfully he ended the song in the low register.
Out of their four duets, “Tình Bơ Vơ” (Lam Phương) stands out. Their vocal deliveries are what fans from both camp would anticipate. What new is that Tùng Châu gives the song a Latin rhythm with sprinkle of bluesy keyboard licks. Without a doubt, the productions make Lâu Đài Tình Ái enjoyable for at least one or two listens.