Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” is a fine tune, but I find it a bit soft and saccharine, especially when the gay man himself sings it. The song has been widely covered, even within the Vietnamese community, but no one brings it up a notch the way Nguyen Khang does. His English is imperfect, but his flow is so unique that he has given me a different view about the song. When he kicks off the first verse, the roughness in his voice changes the song’s entire perspective. It is no longer a man crooning to a woman or, in John’s situation, a man to man, but a thug pouring his heart out to his love: “What have I got to do to make you love me / What have I got to do to make you care / What do I do when lightning strikes me / And I wake to find that you’re not there.” So when a thug apologizes, sorry has to be the hardest word. He was able to convey that vibe, but the other two guys who featured on the track fucking sabotaged it. Nguyen Khuong’s bitch-ass vocals works against the toughness Khang built, and Tien Dung’s weak-ass voice plus the computer manipulation ruined the song.
Damn Khang, you have to re-record this tune by yourself. You owe me this track, man!