Nhat Thuc 2 (Solar Eclipse 2)

Ngoc Dai’s second installment of his Solar Eclipse series should be called Nhat Thuc 1.5 instead of Nhat Thuc 2. The album has seven tracks total, yet three of them are republished from the first release with the lyrics rewritten. Even though Tung Duong and Khanh Linh have done their best to keep the record on lock, it still falls short.

Fortunately, the remaining four tracks are galvanizing. Tung Duong gives an unforgettable performance on “Mo” (Dream). His voice fits Do Bao’s jazz arrangement like a glove. On “Tu Tinh” (Self Expression), he maneuvers his delivery to match up with the rock fusion, and the result is irresistible. As for Khanh Linh, she invigorates Ngoc Dai’s contemporary-folk “Tam Dem” (Night Bath) with her emotional strengths and playful phrasings. Together, Tung Duong and Khanh Linh transform “Co Trang” (White Stork) into a masterpiece that showcases Ngoc Dai’s craftsmanship. The arrangement is exotic; the voices are exquisite; and the lyrics are eccentric.

Despite how many genres (jazz, rock, pop, and folk) infused into the songs, the album never gets distracted. It still remains coherent from start to finish. If Nhat Thuc 2 continues the journey by going forward and not looking back, it would have been as successful as the first one. Sure, I don’t blame Ngoc Dai for rewriting the lyrics because of the copyright controversy on the first album; however, to reissue them on the second part is not working.