Thuy Vu – Tinh Khuc Thang Sau

With a deep, rich tenor voice and a classy taste, Thuy Vu recorded some of the most romantic ballads on his debut Thang Sau Troi Mua. In fact, my wife and I used his sensational rendition of Ngo Thuy Mien’s “Niem Khuc Cuoi” as a theme song for our wedding. Thang Sau Troi Mua is one of the albums that never grow out of me. I can just come back to it from time to time and still enjoy it.

In his long-waited, second follow-up, Tinh Khuc Thang Sau, Thuy Vu continues into the romantic path, but with a subtle touch of jazz. Dinh Hung and Pham Dinh Chuong’s “Mong Duoi Hoa” gets a bossa nova cover and his lust, cello-like baritone gets me every time. I am not ashamed to confess that I am totally gay for his bluesy take on Tran Thien Thanh’s “Nguoi Yeu Toi Khoc.” He also had done a great job of chucking the schmaltz out of “Lau Dai Tinh Ai” (from Tran Thien Thanh as well). The mid-tempo, funk groove adds a new flavor to the song.

The tempo for Y Van’s “Ao Anh” is a bit too fast. The brushwork behind his bass tone would have created a much better result. The somewhat disappointed track is Ngo Thuy Mien’s “Rieng Mot Goc Troi.” I was not looking for a better than a Tuan Ngoc version, but something completely different. Vocally, they are at the other end of the spectrum, which is good, but the saxophone killed it. Instead of accommodating the voice, the sax fights against it.

Like Thang Sau Troi Mua, Tinh Khuc Thang Sau (he must love June or something) shows Thuy Vu’s passion and admiration for the timeless ballads. He eases back, focuses on the lyrics and lets the sublime arrangements from Dinh Bao do the revitalization.