As I have once confessed, I am a closet Bằng Kiều fan. Okay, no need for you to laugh at me, I know I am a sucker for his voice regardless of how sissy it could be at times. Recently I have this urge to collect his new CDs and since I am too lazy to search for his songs on the internet and I got bored with my iTunes, I deliberately went on a scavenger hunt today for his new collections that were made in the U.S. It took me half a day, a trip from Chinatown to Quincy then curved back to Dorchester to finally bank almost $50 bucks on 5 CDs — 3 are solely his, 1 in collaborative effort with Minh Tuyết, and the last one is Trần Thu Hà’s newest album Communication ’06.
Before I write anything else about BK’s new CDs, I must say that I concurred with Donny for his critical view of TTH’s effort on Communication ’06. First of all, the translation was a bit off, while the Vietnamese title is Đối Thoại, the English translation is more likely suitable to the word Dialogue and not Communication. To me, Đối Thoại means a bit more private and personal as she is trying to get her message across as if the songs are only contained in serenity for lovers’ groove. It could also reflect the undulating inner struggle of one’s soul departing from love and is confined in the imaginary dialogue with her lover. Communication has a bit more technical connotation than dialogue and after listening to her songs, I was wondering why she chose to entitle her CD as Communication, as it was unfit for the context of what the songs aim to achieve. I tried to stay objective but after 4 years of having Communication as my undergraduate major, it was hard for me to get beyond its technical definition.
Secondly, I somehow feel that Ms. Trần is trying to be too “Americanized” too fast given the fact that she is now married to a Vietnamese-American man. The album is too ambitious for those who loved (or used to love) her previous albums with deep characters of Vietnamese style to accept or adjust. I am an old school but I don’t like the constant presence of electronically-infused beats and rhythms; it just took her voice and range away and buried it deep with whatever techniques they used to arrange the songs. Is she trying to show off her versatile idiosyncrasy in a new market? If she is then that’s a tad bit crass to start her career in a new territory. Seriously, what happened to Khoảng vắng em chờ with the infusion of subtle jazz? That song got me surviving a break-up and I put it in “repeat” mode for many months. How about Sắc Màu? That song got me back to my poetic groove. I am not a musician, and neither am I a critic, but as a listener/audience, I am quite disappointed (and I also wish to return my purchase!)
No time to write about BK’s songs so I bid you farewell right here to get my 8-hours beauty sleep. Tomorrow is my last day of being 29 year-young so I gotta take it with pride and live it to the fullest 🙂
Khoảng vắng em chờ
Anh là bài thơ không chép được
Mà đành lòng em phải thuộc từng câu
Thuộc bằng ngày nghe và đêm âm thầm hát
Thuộc bằng hè mưa và thu mơ màng nắng
Anh là màu xanh trái đất này
Ngày từng ngày nên biển mặn gừng cay
Là mắt, là tay, là giọng buồn em hát
Là mưa, là nắng, là khoảng vắng em chờ
Ôi tình yêu, tình yêu là gì?
Mà suốt đời ai đã một lần qua