As someone who follows Ngoc Anh’s career for many years, I didn’t think she could make a bad record if she wanted to. Even under Thuy Nga’s poppy direction, she managed to cut some exceptional tracks with Giet Nguoi Trong Mong and gained a wider audience who only knew her after she appeared on Paris By Night.
Her follow-up release, Ta Tinh, however, proves me wrong. As Thuy Nga pushes Ngoc Anh deeper into the pop hole, she can’t save herself from sinking into the god-aweful productions. Her rendition of Pham Dinh Chuong’s “Nua Hon Thuong Dau” is one of the most tasteless covers I have heard. The bouncy arrangement takes the soul and the lyricism right out of the song. Intead of “Nham mat cho toi tim mot thoang huong xua,” the beat gets on your nerve if you close your eyes.
Ngoc Anh and Bang Kieu’s duet on Ngo Thuy Mien’s “Rieng Mot Goc Troi” is much worse than on Do Le’s “Sang Ngang.” The track sounds like two chicks and a horrendous soprano sax battling out for their own turf. Other than the excellent, heart-rending version of Pham Duy’s “Mua Thu Chet,” Ta Tinh is mediocre at best.
From skin-baring album cover to artifical, soupy hits including Le Xuan Truong’s translated “Cuoi Cung La Hu Vo,” Ngoc Trong’s “Sau Vuong Khoi May” and Hai Nguyen “Em Hay Ve Di,” it’s sad to see such a phenomenal artist getting sucked into Thuy Nga’s money-making machine. With Ta Tinh, Ngoc Anh is selling out her soul more than trying to reach the young listeners.