Back in the 90s, a tune called “Boulevard” was widely covered by Vietnamese-American singers including Tuấn Ngọc, Don Hồ, and Kenny Thái. It’s a sweet, soft ballad by Dan Byrd, but I actually haven’t listened to the original version.
I have listened to both the English version as well as the Vietnamese translation, but I didn’t pay much attention to the lyrics. I just happened to come across it again on YouTube today and I found the lyrics quite suggestive. For example, “I beg you please I’m on my knees / If that’s what you want me to.” While you’re down there…
Then the chorus really got me: “Come again you would release my pain / And we could be lovers again.” You want your lover to “come” again? That sounds off-putting.
In a medley with Don Hồ on “Paris by Night 98,” Như Loan wisely switched out the English bars:
“Never knew that it would go so far
When you left me on that boulevard
Hãy quay về đừng để hồn em thương đau
Và hãy nói mình vẫn luôn có nhau.”
I thought she was conscious of the lyrics; therefore, she sang in Vietnamese instead. But then she returned and even begged her lover, “Please come again, you would release my pain / And we could be lovers again.” Then she and Don Hồ kept repeating those two bars until their performance was finished. They gave me a weird vibe.
I am only kidding. It’s a lovely song.