Bang Kieu is the kind of pop singer you either love or love to hate. Love him because he could flight above octaves like a rocket. Love to hate him because dude sounds like a lady, especially on the upper register. So like him or loathe him depends upon whether you could get past the pussiness in his countertenor or not.
Bang Kieu knows that he has the type of timbre that isn’t easy to listen; therefore, he must choose his songs wisely, and he has done so based on his consistent performances on Paris by Night. So on his newest record, Hoai Cam, I am not surprised that his repertoire includes Van Phung’s “Toi Di Giua Hoang Hon,” Pham Duy’s “Mua Thu Chet” and Ngo Thuy Mien’s “Ban Tinh Cuoi.” They are suitable for his octave-jumping style. “Ban Tinh Cuoi,” in particular, is one of those ballads that listeners just wait to witness how he jumps across the towering bridge without collapsing in the middle. What surprised me though is his rendition of Pham Dinh Chuong’s “Nua Hon Thuong Dau.” Somehow his voice transmutes into a broken-hearted woman whose soul is drowning in a sea of sorrow. His falsetto is just amazing, as if it comes straight from the clit.
Although Hoai Cam is a new album, it isn’t really new. Despite how good his deliveries are, old standards are nothing but old standards. He might have brought some fresh approaches to them, but they have been covered so much that they eventually worn off. It must be really hard to be a Vietnamese hit. They just don’t want to leave you alone, especially big moneymakers like Thuy Nga production.