There’s not much to weigh in on Hà Thanh Xuân’s new release, Cuối Tuần Bên Anh. Other than her luscious voice riding cha-cha rhythm as smooth as a glass of Sangria, the album is a typical Asia’s reprocessed productions. Most of the arrangements are dated back to the early ‘90s. As long as Trúc Hồ still holding down the reign, Asia is still stuck in the past two decades. He has more interest in politics than moving the music production forward.
With that said, Cuối Tuần Bên Anh brings back so much nostalgia. A few weeks ago, as I was lounging at the beautiful beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic with a Crazy Monkey in my hand and Hà Thanh Xuân’s album pumping in my Sennheiser, I took a trip down to memory lane. That keyboard lick in the beginning of “Ngựa Hoang” is a Trúc Hồ’s unmistakable arrangement. I still remember rocking that instrumental cha-cha medley album while walking from and to middle school everyday. Damn, those good old days are now long gone.
From Vũ Tuấn Đức’s produced “Tình Đầu Dễ Quên” and “Cuối Tuần Bên Anh” to Trúc Sinh’s “Hãy Vui Đêm Nay” and “Cố Quên” to Sỹ Đan’s “Tình Là Sợi Tơ” and “Bé Yêu,” these familiar sounds, which remain intact, make me wonder what the recording process is like in the studio. Probably something like this. A singer looks up the catalog and picks out a song. The producer finds the pre-recorded arrangement, puts it on and tells the singer to get into the booth and just sing into it. After ten or fifteen songs, they have completed a professional karaoke session. Now they just need to take a few studio pictures, send them over to the graphic department, probably one guy, to Photoshop the hell out of the image and whipped up the album design with some horrendous typefaces. Done!