Trinh Lam & Quynh Vi – Tinh Con Vuong Van

In Thuy Nga’s last year talent show, Trinh Lam came in first and Quynh Vi came in second, but I concluded it the other way around. Need some proof? Listen no further than their new duo release Tinh Con Vuong Van, in which Quynh Vi is the one who picks him up where he doesn’t deliver.

Trinh Lam has a strong voice, but he doesn’t have the flow. He sings with the same tone on every track. His low register is so boring. His solos, “Don Coi” and “Mua Buon,” are snore-worthies. Even on the bossa-nova “Coi Mong” he could hardly ride the beat. He also tries too hard in his enunciation, which gets a bit irritating.

In contrast, Quynh Vi has less strength in her voice, but the clear and sweet qualities make up for it. Her intonation, of course, is impeccable. She knows how not to over dramatize a pop tune like “Em Da Tung Yeu.” But then on “Han Tinh Trong Mua,” she couldn’t reach the depth of the tune’s sorrow.

Nevertheless, Quynh Vi saves Trinh Lam’s ass not once, but twice on their duets. She starts off “Nua Vang Trang” so damn lovely. Her voice floats like clouds over the moonlight until Trinh Lam comes in and makes everything disappear. On “Nuoi Tiec,” Trinh Lam’s low notes sound so flat that making me wish the male part could have performed by Trinh Nam Son, the writer himself.