Thu Phuong – Dieu Cuoi Cung Doi Cho

In her latest release, Dieu Cuoi Cung Doi Cho, Thu Phuong takes a light, soothing approach to Viet Anh’s romantic ballads. Unfortunately, the easy-going style doesn’t fit her too well. What lost is the turbulence that makes her the drama crooner of pop. The pain and anguish she poured into in Nhu Mot Loi Chia Tay and Em Ra Di Mua Thu had dried up.

In her previous albums—particularly Trinh Cong Son’s songbook—Thu Phuong was in a roller-coaster state of her life. Now that the trouble and glory are gone, she doesn’t seem to be interested in taking the soul train anymore. In “Hoa Co Vang Noi Ay,” she doesn’t even want to maneuver her way around the Latin-inspired arrangement. She just drags her bottle-breaking voice through the track. Her vocals get heavier and more tiresome on the bluesy “Ngay Khong Ten,” and she hardly pushes her flow to give the song a livelier jazz. She could have made these two tunes far more superior than what she had done if she drops her emotion and fervor into them. In contrast, the medley closer, “Khong Con Mua Thu” and “Mua Phi Truong,” is the worse track in the album. The mid-tempo arrangement is trivial, yet what irritating is the computer-manipulated voice. Don’t digitize your voice just to sound different. If you want to sound different switch up your vocal range and play around with your timbre.

The biggest glitch of the album is the song selection. Viet Anh’s music is unsuitable for Thu Phuong’s voice. His compositions lack the tensions and the agonies that are needed for Thu Phuong to articulate her singing. This is not the right way for Thu Phuong to reinvent her style. She needs to bring back the soul and the drama.