Y Lan & Quang Tuan – Hat De Doi Cho

With Hat De Doi Cho, Y Lan’s second album of the year, she brought in Quang Tuan for collaboration. Clever choice. Quang Tuan’s slightly raspy baritone is a perfect complement to Y Lan’s sweet vocals. On the album opener, Ngo Thuy Mien’s “Mua Thu Cho Em,” their voices blend together like champagne and orange juice. The tangy duet is accompanied by Dong Son’s light, sensual arrangement.

The album as a whole is consistent track for track. Quang Tuan delivered his solo pieces, such as Trinh Cong Son’s “Goi Ten Bon Mua” and Doan Chuan and Tinh Linh’s “La Do Muon Chieu,” the way the writers had written. Similarly, Y Lan presents the tunes like Ngo Thuy Mien’s “Mat Thu” and Le Uyen Phuong’s “Tinh Khuc Cho Em” exactly as the composers intended. No crime in that. They both have done the timeless ballads the justice. Yet, for me covering old tunes without given them a fresh new vibe isn’t good enough. I prefer musicians to be more creative and more imaginative when they do covers. I favor musicians who aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone and to take the tunes onto a new path, something of their own.

Production wise, Hat De Doi Cho is not Dong Son’s most inspiring work. His orchestrations sound retread and laid back. Either the arrangements didn’t jump start the vocals or the vocals didn’t push the arrangements. The album is a quality work, but it just doesn’t sound like a new record.