Văn Mai Hương – 18+

Right off the album opener, “Chậm Lại Một Phút” (Vương Vũ), Văn Mai Hương sounds quite like Hồ Quỳnh Hương, but with less intensity and sensitivity. The track starts off with the 80s pop keyboard licks from Hoài Sa and then progresses into a powerhouse. It’s a very typical pop ballad and Văn Mai Hương does have strong enough of a voice to pull it off.

The second track, “Riêng Mình Anh Thôi” (Khác Hương), has the same structure. It has that Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey vibe, especially with the backup singers behind her. These pop ballad aren’t bad. They are just predictable and lacking the inventiveness. “Ngày Em 18” (Nguyễn Thanh Bình) has a nice r&b-hip-hop, uptempo flavor, but nothing stands out.

The only number that gives a glimpse of versatility beyond the teen-pop flavor is the bonus “Tango Trao Em.” Maybe I am just an old head who no longer has a taste for the young pop music. Still, if I have to pick out one track from the album, I would go with “Hạnh Phúc”, a duet with Tạ Quang Tháng who also wrote the song. Tạ Quang Tháng has such a rough, powerful voice. I haven’t heard a vocal like his since Nguyên Khang. If he could be guided into the right direction, I am sure he would excel. Likewise, Văn Mai Hương has the voice. She just needs to find her own path.

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