Bao Yen – Chieu Ha Vang

Bao Yen’s new release, Chieu Ha Vang, under Asia production is surprisingly good. She has the ability to maneuver her way across pop hits and sentimental ballads. Her phrasings aren’t over-the-top dramatic like most “sen” singers and the raucousness in her voice helps cutting away the syrupy crap.

Over Asia’s streamlined productions, Bao Yen soars like a bird with a wounded wing on Tran Thien Thanh’s “Mot Doi Yeu Anh” and cuts to the pathos of Truc Phuong’s “Thoi Doi” as if she has lived the lyrics. Elsewhere she brings the pain on the Tuan Khanh’s shouting-rock “Tra No Tinh Xa” and gives a sensual rendition of Quoc Dung’s “Coi Mong.”

Although the album is all over the place, Bao Yen has proven that she could take on whatever being thrown at her. From the opening title track, Nguyen Ba Nghiem’s “Chieu Ha Vang,” she seduces us with her “Hue” accent. On the closing “Niem Co Don Cuoi Cung” (Sy Dan and Vu Tuan Duc), she mesmerizes us with her rockability. And finally she makes us love “sen” ballad without having to feel embarrassed about it.