Some people get sad because of SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Some people feel sad because of a girl or boy. Whatever the case, I think I have an old Vietnamese remedy for you. And no, it doesn't include rubbing a magical green ointment on yourself. Instead, the cure involves listen to music that is known as nhạc buồn. Nhạc buồn, or music with sad themes (heartache, loneliness, etc.), has been a mainstream staple of Vietnamese music for many years. What makes nhạc buồn so appealing to so many people? Let's find out. Here's a list of recently released nhạc buồn songs that is sure to appeal to the inner emo Kylo Ren in all of us.
Phan Mạnh Quỳnh may be my favorite Vietnamese nhạc buồn artist. I find all his songs to be mesmerizing. Although sad in theme, his songs often contain an uplifting since of hope. Phan Mạnh Quỳnh first performed Có Chàng Trai Viết Lên Cây nearly a year ago on Sing My Song. Now that it finally has a more proper release, I can finally talk about it.
Có Chàng Trai Viết Lên Cây plays out like a romantic anime. It's a story about a boy who wrote on a tree (like the Vietnamese title suggests) expressing his love for a girl. The girl moves away, but the boy still maintains his love for her throughout the years. They meet again in the future. Both changed and carrying various life scars; however, the boy's love still remains buried deep in his heart. Although society would lead you to believe that such a childish love cannot withstand the test of time, this one boy's love for a girl continues to exist for years on end like a message carved on a tree.
Listening Có Chàng Trai Viết Lên Cây makes me want to watch the anime Kimi no Na wa again because it gives me that same bittersweet feeling where you want to cry and cheer at the same time.
In 2016, Vpop singer and teen idol Erik had his breakout hit song with the super emotional love ballad Sau Tất Cả. In 2017, Erik let love get the best of him and he ended up being Ghen of singer Min. Now that time has passed, it seems Erik has let his jealous rage cool off a bit. Now, Erik seems to believe that love is never wrong in Yêu Chưa Bao Giờ Là. If that is the case, then maybe Erik should think about apologizing for being such a massive chandelier-breaking-party-pooping dick in Ghen. Chandeliers aren't cheap, bro.
This next song is for all those of you out there craving that good D. I'm talking about that Dickson, yo! I bet singer Dickson with his bad boy with a sophisticated, gentle emo side persona is slaying it with the ladies. The glasses and the emo sweater gives him that perfect gentle, nonthreatening aura while the neck tattoo maintains a certain troubled bad boy quality that women seem to love. It's the perfect combination to make the ladies swoon.
Dickson knows what he's doing. I even think featuring a few Japanese verses from Vietnamese YouTuber Innie, who lives in Japan, to appeal to the inner weeaboo in all of us was a smart move. Clever girl...
Vpop singer Hạnh Sino is starting to wisen up. If you want to make it in the Vietnamese music business, sometimes you just have to give the people what they want. The Vietnamese love their slow ballads about heartbreak, so Hạnh Sino is finally giving them just that.
I find Dù Sai Em Vẫn Yêu Anh to be a super depressing song. There's nothing sadder than watching a girl trying to hang on to someone after they have been dumped, and that's exactly what this song is about. Even if it's wrong, I still love you -- that's the message of this song. It's about her crying alone still longing for her ex and not moving on. Hot damn, girl! Get it together!
5 AM might be the most depressing time of day. If you're awake at 5 AM, then you're probably not feeling too hot. You might be waking up early to get to work, or you may not even have gone to sleep yet because you have been trying to finish a term paper (or a blog post in my case). In both instances, you're probably not happy about it. You could be awake because of insomnia, or you could be awake because of a crying baby. However you look at it, 5 AM is generally not a happy time of day for most people. Thus, it makes the perfect title for a depressing AF song, and singer Kai Đinh did just that with his latest song 5AM.
I think it's safe to say Lynk Lee has crippling depression in this MV. He's in a wheelchair sitting out in the rain in the middle of nowhere amongst piles of dead leaves. If that isn't the definition of crippling depression, then what is.
Does the Vietnamese audience love sad songs? Think about this...this MV is promoting the Vietnamese version of the TV show Glee. Yet, it's not very gleeful. Here, Lynk Lee is covering Chậm Lại Một Phút by Văn Mai Hương. He's singing about slowing things down. What?! Usually, guys are the one wanting to get to home plate as fast as they can. Perhaps, Lynk Lee's character in Glee can't keep up because he's a cripple in a wheelchair. This is depressing as Lt. Dan hanging out with Forrest Gump on New Year's Eve getting belittled by a couple of whores. FeelsBadMan.
Won Bin I mean Juun Đăng Dũng has fallen on tough times in Không Còn Bình Yên. All the colors of life has left him. He's just a shell of himself now. All he does now is walk along the coastline in his emo turtlenecks and sweaters contemplating if he should literary drown himself in his sorrows.
Pull yourself together, man! Enough with all the drab colors, and stop being such an emo pussy! You got dumped, so what? Take it like a man, and move on. Put on a suit, get in a couple of knife fights, shoot up a bunch of bad guys, and then save a little girl. I'll bet you'll feel better about your manhood after that. It worked for Won Bin. Just saying...
Sitting alone on a bus? Standing in the middle of a crosswalk motionless? We get it, dude. You have crippling depression. No need to stand in the middle of the street waiting to get hit by a double-decker bus. We understand that you feel like you're stuck in place while the world around you continues to move on. Get a hold of yourself, man!
That said, what I do like about this MV by Ưng Đại Vệ ft Khắc Hưng is that it has a very classic Mandopop/Cantopop feel to it. As an old school Cpop fan, this is something that I like. Quá Nhiều is simple and sweet. Maybe this is by design since the song title does mean "too much" in English after all.
In Chuyện Anh Vẫn Chưa Kể, singer Chi Dân is a hipster painter. He's also kind of a creep for taking selfies of himself with a blind girl without her permission. Not cool, bro. Not cool. You shouldn't take pictures of a girl or anyone in general without their permission. That's just a common courtesy that should be observed in my view. But I guess Chi Dân decided that it doesn't apply if someone's eyes don't work.
Nevertheless, I still found the ending to his MV rather interesting. I was expecting a "K.I.S.S. - Because I'm A Girl" ending where the guy gives up his own eyes to allow the girl to see again. Instead, we got an ending where Chi Dân decides to follow the philosophy declaring if you love something, let it go; and if it returns, let it go again. What?!
That back turn, yo! Throughout this entire lyric MV for the song Năm Ấy, I couldn't tell if singer Đức Phúc was standing on the edge of a tall building ready to jump or not. Call the police because we have a jumper! Back away from the ledge. It's not worth it, bro. There are plenty of fishes in the sea. No need to kill yourself over some girl. Take a chill pill and listen to some nhạc buồn if you have to. We have all been there. It gets better. Yes, turn around and back slowly away from the ledge...
Here's a classic super depressing Vietnamese MV by singer JayKii set in the rain. Vài Tháng Sau is a song about the souring of love after several months time. I got news for you, kid. No matter how much of a b*tch you think your significant other is, do you know who the biggest b*tch of them all is? It's mother nature. She doesn't give a f*ck about anyone. She will wreck your sh*t like no other. Torrential downpour? Hurricanes? Tornadoes? It's just another day at the office for mother nature. You think standing in the rain and crying about your love life will score you pity points with the universe? Newsflash, it won't! It's just a waste of time because mother nature is going to continue dumping all of her sh*t on you no matter what.
Thiều Bảo Trâm made her solo debut with a colorful pop song. In TBT's latest MV Thương Anh, we see a different side of Thiều Bảo Trâm -- a much more reserved and vulnerable side. I said it before, and I'll say it again. Slow depressing songs aren't really my thing. I do, however, have to say that I was quite impressed with TBT in Thương Anh. She showed some real singing chops here, and Thương Anh only served to solidify my belief that TBT has the highest career potential of all the new female Vpop singers. TBT actually has real talent unlike some other singers that shall not be named.
Depression affects us all. Even for a happy-go-lucky top teen like dat boi Soobin Hoàng Sơn, the blues can hit hard. Listening to this Soobin cover of the classic song Để Dành, I almost wanted to Ethan Frome myself into a tree. Want to know what the definition of crippling depression is? Read Ethan Frome. This song kind of reminds me of that book. It's about being haunted by past memories, and there is this subtle winter vs. spring theme going on. I sure hope spring comes soon. F*ck this cold-ass winter! I don't like it one bit.
Bust out your emo turtlenecks because here we go again with another emotional love song. Surprisingly this time around, no one had to take a trip to Dumpsville. In Sẽ Về Với Nhau, it's just a MV about Rocker Nguyễn in a long distance, international relationship with a Korean painter. On the bright side, at least she isn't blind like Chi Dân's love interest. But realistically speaking, long distant relationships don't work out that often. So, I wouldn't be surprised if the girl in this MV receives a "Dear Baby, welcome to Dumpsville. Population: You." letter once Rocker decides to head back to Vietnam.
Congratulations! If you made it all the way through this list of songs without slipping into deep depression, then you've completed experiencing Vietnam's favorite past time of listening to nhạc buồn. Why do people love these depressing love songs so much? Well, sometimes you have to FeelsBadMan to FeelsGoodMan. It's like one of my favorite Home Made Kazoku songs says, "No rain, no rainbow."
Next up: Vpop songs with an old school vibe.