Y Lan – Dung Lay Toi Nhe Cuoc Doi

Sure, Y Lan’s one those mamas who refuses to grow up, but she could sing like a soul-wrecked woman if she wants to. Her new record, Dung Lay Toi Nhe Cuoc Doi, proves that the ageless songbird can still bring the pain and pathos to Pham Duy’s classic tunes.

Y Lan, believe it or not, sounds much more natural when she chucks out the girlishness in her delivery. “Quan Ben Duong” is a perfect proof. She floats her naked emotion over the breathtaking semiclassical orchestration while recites each word as if she had lived it. “Chieu Ve Tren Song” is the other excellent piece in which she bares her heart and soars her soul on the hypnotic arrangement. Her tone remains flawlessly beautiful on high notes and she rides the orchestra in such effortless elegance, particularly against the intoxicating bass lines on “Mo Khuc.”

Although the last two tracks—ballroom-tango “Pho Buon” and joyful-folks “Ba Me Que”—break the dark, lustful mood, Y Lan has delivered her best album up to date with the support of the economical-yet-magical producer Dong Son. What a great way to start the new year.