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Quang Dung – Va

Let’s face it. Marriage kills your sentimental mood. It’s good for a guy like me, but not so for a guy like Quang Dung. I don’t make a living baring my soul; he does. In his new album, Va, he covers mostly heart-rending ballads, but he sounds more pathetic than persuasive.

Right off the opening track, Lam Phuong’s “Mot Minh,” you can tell that he’s not feeling it. When a man, who is married to a beautiful wife and welcomed a cute son into his life, sings about loneliness, do you really believe him? He doesn’t convince me at all. How pitiful is that for a man to cry on a woman’s shoulder: “Anh khoc tren vai em / Anh khoc tren vai em / Mot lan cuoi, mot lan cuoi cung?” He must be her bitch. Some songs you just can’t switch the role and assume that it will sound right.

Musically speaking, Va is just an average work. Le Quang’s productions are generic and sedative. Can’t blame the producer for not feeling inspired when Quang Dung hardly pushes his vocals. Even on a mid-tempo “Tieng Dan Toi” (by Pham Duy), he doesn’t even switch up his flow to ride with the beat. He plays safe throughout the album by delivering only in his comfy range and refusing to take chances. Evaluate between his and Tuan Ngoc’s version of Tu Cong Phung’s “Tren Thang Ngay Da Qua,” and you’ll see clearly why Tuan Ngoc is still irreplaceable.

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