Chúc mừng năm mới! Happy New Year! As promised, this is part 2 of this year's Tết-themed playlist. I hope everyone likes it because I spent more time than I would like to admit scouring the internet for the best 2019 Tết songs that I could possibly find.
This one goes out to all the moms out there. Vietnamese moms all seem to worry about their kids to an unhealthy extent. I know my mom does. Teaming up with Superbrothers (aka Châu Đăng Khoa), upcoming female vocalist Orange of popular hit song Người Lạ Ơi, desperately pleads to moms out there to stop worrying so much in the song Mẹ Ơi Đừng Lo. Her pleads, however, most-likely will fall on deaf ears because you simply can't stop a mom from worrying. That's just what they do. Well, at least this song is cheery enough that it probably can distract any listener from their worries for at least a minute or two. Seriously, I can't help but want to get up and dance whenever I hear it.
While the previous song was mainly geared towards mothers, this 2019 Nescafé Tết commercial music video is taking the opposite approach by exploring the intricacies of a daddy-daughter relationship. Featuring the outstanding duo of Đức Phúc and Hòa Minzy from last year's Tiên Cookie song Thế Là Tết, Để Khoảnh Khắc Mãi Đong Đầy may be Nescafé's best Tết CM yet. Perhaps, it's just my personal bias towards Hòa Minzy, but I feel that the past three Nescafé Tết CMs featuring Đông Nhi haven't been as memorable. In contrast, this Nescafé CM is way more compelling. RIP Đông Nhi's Nescafé money. Để Khoảnh Khắc Mãi Đong Đầy is the type of song that lets Đức Phúc and Hòa Minzy do what they do best, and that is to sing a heartfelt ballad that leaves you with a lingering bittersweet happiness similar to how sipping a cup of coffee would.
Noo Phước Thịnh is calling out to spring in Gọi Tên Mùa Xuân. Personally, I am confused if Noo Phước Thịnh is singing about spring the season or a stripper named Spring here because to me it sounds like he's trying to sing the panties off of "mùa xuân." Maybe that's just me, or maybe that's just how seductive Noo Phước Thịnh's voice is in this song. I don't know. Call me crazy, but I think Noo Phước Thịnh would try to bang "mùa xuân" if he could.
If you are looking for something a little more wholesome than whatever Noo Phước Thịnh just gave us, then leave it to Suni Hạ Linh and Will of 365DaBand to deliver the goods. With their girl next door and boy next door qualities, it's hard not to like them as a pair. Tết Ta Về Nhà is definitely a feel-good, family-friendly song. So much so that it may be a little too conservative for its own good. Ultimately, Tết Ta Về Nhà is somewhat of a forgettable song when compared to all of the other Tết songs out there.
There's one think that singer Lê Thiện Hiếu does not forget, and that's all of last year's lucky money that he "received" but didn't get to keep as a kid. I know the feeling all too well. The first time I started receiving money from my aunts and uncles as a kid for Christmas, my mom told me to let her hold on to all of it to "keep it safe." A few weeks later when I asked her about the money, guess what -- it was nowhere to be found. First off, she tried to pretend to not know what I was talking about. Then, I was told the money was all spent on kitchen appliances. FeelsBadMan. Well, that was the last time ever that I allowed my parents to "keep my money safe" because I knew it was just an excuse to take my money away because Vietnamese parents seem to believe kids will either lose it or wastefully spend it all. They also seem to believe all kids have short-term memory and will simply forget about the money that was essentially stolen from them. Guess what -- I am an adult now, and I still remember. To me, Qua Tết Năm Sau is a very bittersweet and nostalgic song because I can totally relate to it.
Tết is about spending time with family and paying respect to your ancestors. Therefore, some of my favorite Tết songs are songs that bring about a feeling of nostalgia. Rộn Ràng Xuân Sang by Non Hanta is a random song that I came across searching for Tết song for 2019. I have no idea who Non Hanta is, but Rộn Ràng Xuân Sang is a pretty good Tết song, in my opinion, because it does a good job in invoking nostalgic and happy sentiments.
Andree Right Hand is not an artist that you think of when it comes to upbeat, family-friendly music. He's more of a rapper that is obsessed with projecting a badass image. Listen, dude. I don't care how much money you claim to have or how many girls you claim to have gotten with. That shit ain't cool, and I just don't believe it for a second. That said, I actually really like this Andree song. Perhaps if he was a little less of a try-hard and a wannabe gangster, I would actually listen to more of his music. In the spirit of Tết, I should probably just let my past negative feelings about Andree go and give him more of a chance going forward.
If you are looking for a song to listen to while traveling home this Tết, then Chuyến Xe Về Nhà by EmD, Cindy Le, and Tulemi is the perfect pick-me-up song for a long trip home. With its upbeat tone and catchy lyrics, Chuyến Xe Về Nhà is sure to give you a boost of energy in those stressful times trying to get home. EmD might be a relatively unknown artist, but his cheery hip-pop style is highly addictive to listen to. If Chuyến Xe Về Nhà is your type of song, then I suggest you check out EmD's other song Lên Xe Anh Đèo featuring rapper Ricky Star -- who also released his own Tết-themed song called Ngắt Cọng Ngò inspired by his previous hit, the remake of Lý Cây Bông.
If all of this new school hip-pop music is too much for you, then this next Tết song might be for you or perhaps your parents and grandparents. Composed by Phạm Đình Chương in 1952, Ly Rượu Mừng is a traditional song that was always played in South Vietnam during Tết before 1975 until it was banned for over 40 years. Performed here by Đức Tuấn, Ly Rượu Mừng is about breaking out the celebratory wine to celebrate the new year. I think a glass of celebratory wine is in order with the unbanning of this classic song in 2016. Ly Rượu Mừng is a little too nationalistic for my liking, but it is sure to make the older Vietnamese generation happy, which I am all about. Paying respect to you ancestors is an important part of Tết after all.
For many Vietnamese-American families, watching the variety music show Paris By Night is a common family tradition. In Vietnam, Gala Nhạc Việt is essentially the modern day equivalent of PBN. Featuring some of the most popular Vietnamese artists, Gala Nhạc Việt's special Tết variety show is designed to appeal to a wide Vietnamese audience. Some of the songs may be a little generic, but there's enough there that makes it a worthwhile watch with the fam. The biggest failure of PBN, in my opinion, has always been PBN's inability to appeal to a younger audience. With Gala Nhạc Việt, I feel that they at least try by featuring some of the younger and newer artists out there like Hiền Hồ, Jang Mi, Han Sara, and Osad as seen here in the song Vui Như Tết.
In keeping it hip and young, Gala Nhạc Việt also features artists that are sure to appeal to the millennial and younger crowd. For example, popular boy bands like Uni5 and Monstar make appearances as well as Vpop artists like LIME, Suni Hạ Linh, and Erik. For more Tết songs, you can check out the rest of the performances on the official Gala Nhạc Việt YouTube channel. In my opinion, Uni5 had one of the more enjoyable Tết songs of the bunch.
Tết is an important holiday for the Vietnamese people as well as for many other Asian nations. In talking about these Tết songs, I hope more people will realize just how special Tết is. It saddens me that Tết is hardly acknowledged in the Western world. It's like Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's rolled into one holiday. It's a time to rest and spend quality time with family. It's a time to give thanks and recognize one's past history. There's gift giving and special holiday dishes. You get to dress up in fancy clothing/costumes. There's special festive decorations. There's significant cultural/religious meaning to the holiday. Yet, it is mostly ignored in the US. I say we Asians should all unite and riot until Lunar New Year is recognized as a national holiday in the US.