Heo yeah! The year of the pig (heo) is almost here. Tết, or Lunar New Year, is just around the corner. In a few days on Tuesday, February 5th, it will officially be the first day of spring (mùa xuân) for those who follow the lunar calendar in Vietnam. With the polar vortex deep freeze that many Americans have been experiencing in the past few days, I'm sure spring can't come soon enough for those unfortunate souls living in the Midwest. But have no fear! Because warmer weather is coming. So, let's celebrate the new year and the coming of spring with a playlist of Tết-themed songs!
First up, we have dat boi Soobin Hoàng Sơn, singer/songwriter Tiên Cookie, and Vietnamese shoe brand Biti's Hunter coming in hot and heavy with another version of Đi Để Trở Về for a third consecutive year in a row. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That seems to be the model here. Again, Đi Để Trở Về 3 is another Tết-themed song about traveling far to return home. This time, however, Soobin is getting a little help from Hanoi-based rap group Da LAB because traveling with company makes a long trip a little bit more bearable and enjoyable after all.
One of the most popular Tết songs in 2017 was Bao Giờ Lấy Chồng? by singer Bích Phương. This year BP is putting that popularity to good use by teaming up with Samsung to create the commercial music video Bao Giờ Hết Bận? -- a play on the original song. Tết, like Christmas, is the season for giving. And if your family is like my Asian family, then you know that Asian parents prefer gifts that are practical and useful over things that are seen as wasteful spending.
Did you think Bao Giờ Hết Bận? was the only Tết song that Bích Phương was going to release this year? Well, you thought wrong. My girl Bích Phương is working double time this Tết season with not one, but two CMs. Chuyện Cũ Bỏ Qua -- a song about letting go of past gripes -- is BP's latest project done in association with Mirinda -- a PepsiCo-owned soft drink. Đông Nhi better watch her back because BP might just overtake her as the advert queen. BP is moving in on Đông Nhi's Pepsi money like whoa.
Is Tết becoming excessively commercialized? Perhaps, but you always have to take the good with the bad. Christmas, for example, has become extremely commercialized along with many other US holidays. Does that make the holidays less meaningful? I feel like it doesn't. I hold a similar opinion when it comes to adverts in my music videos. Sure, they can degrade the artistic sanctity of a music video to an extent. But on the other hand, the money supplied by sponsors can allow projects like this one to exist. Without the necessary capital, I doubt a relatively small-time singer like Avin Lu would have ever gotten the chance to released a song for Tết. And if you have never seen the original Về Nhà Thôi released by Star Park Entertainment, I recommend that you watch that too. It's worth a watch.
Speaking of small-time artists, The Wings Band -- a boy band that I had no idea existed until recently -- is joining on the Tết fun. With Tết Được Lì Xì Nữa Không Ta, this 3-man band is asking the question that any grown adult would like to ask during Tết -- Do I still get lucky money?
As much as Tết is about spending quality time with family, we all know that the real stars of the show are the little red envelopes of lucky money handed out during Tết. When it comes to practical and useful gifts, nothing beats cold hard cash. Just ask JustaTee and Big Daddy, who are back together again after finding success with their previous song Về Nhà Ăn Tết to bring us another modern take on Tết. Hết Mana is a song about running low on that IRL mana aka money. Just like when you are playing a free-to-play game and you're out of mana to continue, there's only one thing left to do in that situation -- you take mom's credit card and pay-to-win. Just kidding, please don't do this unless you want to get your ass beat by your parents.
With all this excitement over Tết, it's hard not to get caught up in it. Even the underground Vietnamese rap scene is joining in on fun and releasing their own Tết songs. Jombie of the rap group G5R Squad brings his unique rustic rap style to the OST for the upcoming film Táo Quậy set to hit Vietnamese theaters during the Tết holiday season. In Ta Là Táo Quân, Jombie raps about being Táo Quân. You might be asking yourself who the eff is Táo Quân. Well, Táo Quân is the Kitchen God(s). The kitchen is a very import place in the Vietnamese household. Food, after all, is an integral part of Vietnamese culture. For anyone interested in learning more about the legend of the Kitchen Gods and their significance during the Tết holiday season, I suggest going to this webpage.
If you are looking for offbeat (meaning unconventional) and comical music, then look no further than to the underground rap group known as Homie Boiz. I, for one, really enjoy their wacky, satirical brand of music. Rising to fame with songs like Ý Em Sao and Chuyện Tình Tôi, the boys of Homie Boiz show no sign of slowing down or changing up their style. Tết Đong Đầy is their latest song, and it has a similar upbeat, goofball feel to it that their previous works also had.
So many Tết songs have been released this year -- more than I can remember in the past. Because there are so many, I am going to have to do a part 2 for this list. I'll try my best to get part 2 up as soon as possible. However, I have been extremely busy with IRL stuff, so it has been hard for me to write about anything recently.