Hoang Thuy Linh Vol. 1

The sex tape killed Hoang Thuy Linh’s acting career, but gave birth to a young pop star. With the debut release, Hoang Thuy Linh returns to the limelight after the “Vang Anh scandal” broke out near the end of 2007. When the album dropped last month, I didn’t pay much attention because I didn’t think Hoang Thuy Linh could sing. After listening to the album again yesterday, I still think she can’t sing. She has a cute voice, but her range is very limited. Yet, the album works so well thanks to the producers who know how to build the arrangements around her vocals.

Hoang Thuy Linh Vol. 1 kicks off with a club-friendly “Nhip Dap Giac Mo” written by the Luu Thien Huong. The bouncy beat allows Hoang Thuy Linh to ride along with confidence. The end result is pretty damn catchy. Dong Nhi’s “Nghe Nay Chang Trai” is another hypnotic up-tempo number with Auto-Tune enhancement, which is rare because most Vietnamese pop singers use Auto-Tune as a clutch to make themselves sound like alien.

Hoang Thuy Linh also knows not to dramatize slow songs. On the R&B slow jam “Cam On Vi Yeu Em,” another Luu Thien Huong’s piece, she makes the hook sounds convincing as if she thanks her lover for sticking with her after that sex scandal. The album closer, “Ngay Hanh Phuc,” confirms that Hoang Thuy Linh has left the past behind: “Quen di bao nhieu au lo ngay hom qua / Quen di nhung song gio lam cho ta met nhoai.”

What holds the album together is the crisp, solid beats throughout. The lyrics aren’t over-the-top cheesy like most of the the trendy songs these days. This is definitely the step in the right direction for Hoang Thuy Linh. Keep moving forward, kiddo.