Tran Thai Hoa has never been an interpreter. He is an appreciator. With his latest release, he pays homage to Tinh Khuc Tien Chien (pre-war ballads) rather than reinvigorating them. No crime in that.
He reuses some of the formulas in the past that worked for him. Doan Chuan and Tu Linh’s “La Thu” gets a similar bluesy vibe he has recorded before, but it still sounds luscious with his charming voice. On the tango-flavor “Bong Chieu Ta” (Nhat Bang) and paso-double “Dung Buoc Giang Ho” (Hoang Trong), he proves once again that his vocals have rhythm for ballroom styles, even though his feet have none, as we have witnessed on Thuy Nga’s Celebrity Dancing.
With intimate arrangements, Tran Thai Hoa wraps his harmless pipe around the timeless tunes such as Vao Cao’s “Cung Dan Xua,” “Suoi Mo,” “Truong Chi,” Doan Chuan and Tu Linh’s “La Do Muon Chieu” and “Goi Gio Cho May Ngan Bay” like a latex condom. He plays safe, never breaks out of his comfort position and only sticks to what he could perform best. Then again, nothing’s wrong with getting pleasures out of protected sex. Of course, it’s not as stimulating, but still enjoyable.