My Tam – Melodies of Time

As a pop phenomenon who has always tried to stay young, My Tam surprises her fans by covering old songs on her latest release Melodies of Time. What surprises me though is that she doesn’t update these songs to make them relevant for the young listeners even though she has the potential to do so.

My Tam plays safe and doesn’t even take any risk with the beats like she had done in the past. As a result, she is being overshadowed by the previous generation of singers. Her version of Quoc Dung and Nguyen Duc Cuong’s “Chuyen Hop Tan” is an immediate echo of Bao Yen. Their annunciation sounds similar, but Bao Yen’s effortless phrasing and gruff tone gives the tune more rough edges. Furthermore, Bao Yen’s skillful breath control makes My Tam’s breathy delivery sounds amateur.

With Lam Phuong’s “Xin Thoi Gian Qua Mau,” Ngoc Lan’s version comes to mind as soon as My Tam begins the first line. My Tam comes across as stiff and dull compare to Ngoc Lan’s fluid and emotional flow. What makes Ngoc Lan’s version so damn hypnotizing until this day is the way she wrapped her angelic voice around the rhumba rhythm.

What is up with everyone covering Hoang Trong Thuy’s “Doan Khuc Cuoi Cho Em” these days? Once again, Ngoc Anh’s recent version still dominates the rest including My Tam’s simply because Ngoc Anh has such a mesmerizing voice and she sang the tune with so much soul and authority of a woman.

The timeless songs she covered aren’t strong, yet the weakest track on the album is “Doi Yeu,” in which she penned herself with Le Quang. The melody and the lyrics are just mundane, but the ad-lib male voice is what really kills the song. He is hardly audible and he sounded like he has tuberculosis with a big mucus blocking his vocal cord.

Melodies of Time has set My Tam really far back. She will need to step up her game and take more adventurous approach if she doesn’t want to be forgotten. Other wise she will become mediocre like her male-counterpart Dam Vinh Hung.