Thao Trang – The New Me
I don’t know about the old Thao Trang, but the new Thao Trang comes straight out of Rihanna, noticeably the style and the boy haircut. The New Me is also heading toward pop-r&b direction. The album switches from English to Vietnamese and from dance to slow ballad. The changes of language and tempo from track to track is quite a distraction. Why not just stick to one, preferably English?
Thao Trang’s English is very impressive for a girl living in Viet Nam. Unlike 99% of singers in Viet Nam who sings with heavy Vietlish accent, Thao Trang doesn’t have that issue. In fact, her English is even stronger than her Vietnamese. The lyrics on the title track are mediocre, but you could understand what she’s singing about and the beat is incredibly bouncy. “Superstar Girl” is another cut exclusively for the dance floor. The attitude here is definitely a Rihanna’s influence minus the curses. Yet the strongest connection is on Bollywood-inflected “I am Not Easy,” which sounds like a collaboration between Rihanna and Lil Wayne. Antoneus is unknown to me, but the singing style is coming from Weezy.
Strangely enough, Thao Trang’s Vietnamese tracks fall flat on both production and vocal delivery. She sounds less confidence “Trai Ngang” than “I am Free.” When she combines both languages into one song and the result is a disaster. “Sick of This Love” is a proof: “I am sick of this love / sick of this life / Sau bao cay dang bong nhu nghe long nhu da phai.”