Tung Duong does not give a fuck what you think. You can call him gay, feminine, freaky or whatever, but you have to respect his musical sensibility. While most of the young singers can’t break away from the pop bubbles, he takes his music to another planet. Working with Do Bao, an imaginative producer, Tung Duong reinvents himself once again on Nhung O Mau Khoi Lap Phuong.
Since his jazz-breakthrough Chay Tron debuted three years ago, Tung Duong has established himself as one of the idiosyncratic performers in the Vietnamese music scene. He has no fear for turning himself into the characters in his song through visual appearance and vocal manipulation. He not just sings about a particular character; he is the character. In the bizarre “Noi Khat,” he transforms into a kid voice to express Huyen Ngoc’s weird lyrics about a woman thirsting for a child. The arrangement gets creepy; his voice gets creepier. Listening to the title track, which written and produced by Do Bao, is like taking a trip to a kaleidoscopic ecstasy where Tung Duong drowns his soul into a pool of bleak, serene chaos. Tran Tien’s “Nhuc Nhoi” paints an odd image of a lonely soldier returning from the war and a woman lusting to be touched. The upbeat production and his painful moan “oi a” served as drug music.
NOMKLP is obviously not cut out for everyone. Different folks like different strokes. Some like Pepsi, some like Coke. Comparing to Chay Tron, this album is much harder to chew on. Tung Duong is way out there and Do Bao’s productions are much more intricate (with the mixture of new age, chill-out, rock, electronic) than his infamous work on Nhat Thuc.