Duong Trieu Vu – Mai Mai Ben Em

With Dam Vinh Hung as his mentor, no wonder Duong Trieu Vu is a fucktard. His latest release, Mai Mai Ben Em, goes beyond mediocre thanks to Mr. Dam who translated two tunes exclusively for this album. “Nguoi La Ai, O Dau?” is one of those Chinese-melody songs that has translated into many Vietnamese versions. Same music, different words, good job, Mr. Dam!

If we were to take Vietnamese words off the album, Mai Mai Ben Em sounds more like a Chinese record. From “Xa Em Ky Niem” to “Dung Lua Doi Nhau” to “Sad Without You,” there is nada Vietnamese aesthetics in those songs. Even a Vietnamese tune written by a Vietnamese writer, like Yen Lam’s “Rat Muon,” the nursery rap and the Chinese-inflected hook don’t give the listeners a hint of Vietnamese culture. Without reading the credit, one wouldn’t have known that the song is Vietnamese.

With Jimmy Nguyen’s “Mai Mai Ben Em,” Le Quyen’s recent version puréed Duong Trieu Vu’s into baby food from her authoritative vocals to the elegant arrangement. On Do Dinh Phuc’s “Trai Tim Cho Em,” another heavily Chinese-influenced, you can hear Mr. Dam all over it. From song selection to the album art, Mr. Dam is pretty much shaped the direction. Just look at the ridiculous album cover: Duong Trieu Vu looks like he’s posing for an energy-drink commercial.

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