clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Let’s Get Weird—All World All Time Best Song Competition: Vietnam

Wherein this series of articles seems to be breaking me.

Bowl of Vietnamese traditional pho chicken noodle soup in a street restaurant

Feel free to click on the first Global Song Competition post in which we determined “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” was Australia’s best ever contribution to music to learn the rules of this game. In short, we didn’t want to talk about the aftermath of the last regular season baseball series, so Andrew started a distraction contest to...

...determine the greatest song of all time, based on my limited knowledge of music and other countries.

First, we’ll go with the smattering of countries I can accurately point to on a globe and spell correctly—sorry, Kyrgustan (nope: it was Kyrgyzstan)—and then, we’ll go state by state in the good ol’ US of A.

*Note: Feel free to disagree with my choices violently, and suggest better songs in the comments. I will not listen to you, nor will it affect the outcome of this ridiculous distraction contest, but I want you all to feel both seen and heard, even though I don’t know what most of you look like, nor sound like, but I want you all to feel effectively placated.

Потап и Настя’s song “Чумачечая Весна” won Ukraine in a tiebreaker, and Wikipedia tells me the English title is “Krazy Spring” (with a K). So that’s nice.

And speaking of Wikipedia, let’s talk about the Music of Vietnam article, featuring this particularly literate tidbit of information:

The early 1990s Hip Hop import into Vietnam. However, due to language limitations, the number of listeners is not much. Until the early 2000s, hip hop begins to grow in Vietnam become a movement of young people. Not long after that, the movement quickly subsided and many turned their backs on Hip Hop and Rap. Although it can be considered as the freezing period of Vietnamese Hip Hop, it also helps Vietnamese Underground Hip Hop become more stable when the true continues the mission of making this culture ever stronger and promises more and more talents are born from this cradle.

Indeed, Wikipedia. Indeed. Let’s get this on.

The Songs

1) Ngũ Cung - Yêu

Man, I hope you didn’t come here for Potato Pride (or Rice Rejoicing, or whatever the Vietnamese equivalent would be), because it’s nowhere around.

You’d think with the font Ngũ Cung used for their name in that splash screen, you’d be in for some loud, aggressive music. You would be wrong. You would be so very, very wrong.

The only other Vietnamese rock (well, “rock”) band Wikipedia listed was named Microwave, so that was something. I hope they have up and coming bands named Gamma Ray and Infrared. Hello, I am a nerd.

2) Hùng Cường & Mai Lệ Huyền - Hờn Anh Giận Em

French Indochina was long gone by the time this was recording, but their influence must have lived on before Saigon fell. This sounds exactly like a 60s French yé-yé pop song.

The lyrics are kind of depressing in retrospect, if the description is to be believed. A woman is jealous that her soldier husband is away so often. “The life of a man has hundreds of ways, but the fate of a girl has only one. When you’re away, you better not cheat, you hear me? Let’s love more for a long time. 15 days of leave go by so fast, leaving sadness behind.”

Yeah, considering this was a South Vietnamese recording, that didn’t end so well.

There’s a whole album of this stuff on YouTube. The second song (starting at 3:52) is called “The Crazy Song” and sounds like someone let a half-dozen coke fiends run wild in a music store.

3) Như Quỳnh - Duyên Phận (Thái Thịnh)

This woman is the first person on every Vietnamese YouTube playlist I could find, so here, enjoy. It’s lovely and romantic and boring. (Also, why are all of these songs six minutes long.)

Let’s get gross and talk about her Wikipedia article. She’s been singing since the mid-90s, it appears. “Her vocal range at her debut was soprano; it has since deepened to mezzo-soprano by the release of the song Duyên phận,” as though singing slightly deeper or hitting middle age somehow diminished her talents. That’s nice, Patsy Cline was a contralto, so what I’m saying here is shut up.

Lest anyone think I’m overreacting, Wikipedia also included this gem: “Later in her career, she was featured in Vietnamese news, with much focus given to her appearance showing signs of aging.” She’s FIFTY TWO and looks like that. I mean, what. FIFTY TWO.

That was...that was just nothing.

4) Suboi - N-SAO?

Wikipedia would have me believe Suboi is Vietnam’s queen of hiphop, so again, here you go. She has 553,000 subscribers on YouTube, so that may be accurate. Anyway, this is her most watched video. I have nothing interesting to say about it (or about anything, really).

For lack of anything interesting, here’s an excerpt from the top YouTube comment: “She’s got amazing flow and meaning. Sometimes, I have to read the comments to understand what the songs mean. I would learn Vietnamese just for her music.”

Ah yes, you idiot, nothing says “amazing meaning” quite like “I literally have no idea what this person is saying.”

Here, have what I assume is the German State of the Union Address:

Honorable Mentions

Yeah, sorry.

Vote in the Poll


Please vote for one of the songs above for Vietnam.

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Ngũ Cung - Yêu
    (3 votes)
  • 14%
    Hùng Cường & Mai Lệ Huyền - Hờn Anh Giận Em
    (3 votes)
  • 52%
    Như Quỳnh - Duyên Phận (Thái Thịnh)
    (11 votes)
  • 19%
    Suboi - N-SAO?
    (4 votes)
21 votes total Vote Now


Aw, go ahead and vote for an honorable mention too.

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    CCR - Fortunate Son
    (17 votes)
  • 16%
    Scott McKenzie - San Francisco
    (4 votes)
  • 8%
    Buffalo Springfield - For What It’s Worth
    (2 votes)
  • 8%
    Barry McGuire - Eve of Destruction
    (2 votes)
25 votes total Vote Now


Which country (and/or territory, as, you know... we’re on W now, and it’s slim pickings) should rep the letter W?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    (5 votes)
  • 20%
    Western Sahara
    (3 votes)
  • 13%
    Western Samoa
    (2 votes)
  • 33%
    Wallis and Futuna
    (5 votes)
15 votes total Vote Now