Duc Tuan has been busy this year. In July, he released a Van Cao album, Tieng Hat Truong Chi, and now, just three months apart, he’s dropping a second Pham Duy’s songbook, Kiep Nao Co Yeu Nhau, with the collaboration of producer Viet Anh.
The good thing about this record is that Duc Tuan has straightened up his phrasings. By reducing his rounded enunciation, he sounds less feminine (“dieu”). The not-so-good thing is that he couldn’t delivery some of Pham Duy’s well-know ballads, like “Roi Day Anh Se Dua Em Ve Nha,” “Cay Dang Bo Quen” and “Con Duong Tinh Ta Di,” to their fullest potential, and Viet Anh’s uneven arrangements—simple and crisp but lack in depth and texture—didn’t help either. The title track, “Kiep Nao Co Yeu Nhau,” is where the production is matched up with the vocals. When Duc Tuan soars, the orchestration picks up to provide him the backing up he needs to fuel his fire. “Co Hong” has a flavorful, bluesy touch; however, Mai Khoi ruins it with her moaning on the break. Most Vietnamese singers seem not to be able to distinguish the different between groaning and scatting.
While the concept approach—sticking with one producer and one songwriter—is still good for a more focused listening experience, the record doesn’t offer anything Duc Tuan hasn’t done before. He needs to steps up his game or else his success may slip.