I’ve been allured into Le Kieu Nhu‘s Nua Hon Thuong Dau and I don’t even know how and why. She has a seductive voice—silky and raspy—but not outstanding in a distinctive sense. Her technical skill is minimal; she doesn’t even know when to hold her breath; her musical selections are way older than she is; and she choose to sing with a man twice her age. Why Duy Quang and not Duc Tuan or Quang Dung? Their duet on Ngo Thuy Mien’s “Niem Khuc Cuoi” reminds me of a marriage photoshoot, between an old Taiwanese bastard and a young, model-looking Vietnamese girl, I have witness in Binh Quoi. The look on her face was like she’s about to head straight to hell in a white gown, but there was no way out. And that’s how Le Kieu Nhu crafted her album, like a real dramatic musical epic. After “Thuong Nhau Ngay Mua,” there’s only “Buon,” “Sang Ngang” “Con Tuoi Nao Cho Em,” and ended up with “Nua Hon Thuong Dau.” She may not be a skillful ballad crooner, but she sure can makes us feel her bitterness. She delivers these sorrowful tunes with tremendous pain and despondency. What makes me coming back to this album again and again is that she makes her stilted flows sound like they are choked with tears. Sympathy is the best word to describe the album, and I do feel pity after listening to it. Who wouldn’t feel that way about a girl who looks so damn fine?