21 Famous Vietnamese Songs

The term “world music” is often used to describe sounds from African and Middle Eastern countries. But since music is the one universal language, we shouldn’t forget that every culture has its own music.

These below famous Vietnamese songs represent a slice of world music many Westerners overlook but really shouldn’t.

“Ái Nộ” by Masew

Song Year: 2019

If you needed proof that EDM (electronic dance music) is worldwide, you’ve got “Ái Nộ” making that case. It’s not the most aggressive dance music, but the electronica backing up Masew’s vocals is on point.

The number-one hit on Vietnamese charts is about a complicated romantic relationship with lyrics describing the struggles and conflicts between two lovers. There’s jealousy, insecurity, and betrayal— you know, the hallmarks of any healthy relationship.

“Blue Tequila” by Táo

Song Year: 2018

Combining pop and hip-hop elements, Táo’s “Blue Tequila” features the rapper’s near-falsetto singing voice juxtaposed against the booming low-end frequencies of his rapping voice. And there are prominent strings. To the hip-hop fan raised on East Coast vs. West Coast rap, the overall effect can be a bit jarring, as it definitely has some LL Cool J “I Need Love” vibes.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a different sound. However, it worked, as the song racked up millions of YouTube views and put Táo on the charts in Vietnam.

“Càng Lớn Càng Cô Đơn” by JayKii

Song Year: 2018

This pop ballad was one of the biggest hits of 2018 in Vietnam as audiences related well to the lyrics: “Càng Lớn Càng Cô Đơn” is mostly about the struggles and loneliness of growing up.

Most of us remember the insecurities and violent emotions we faced as kids, and JayKii captures it well here. Probably helping the song do well, also, is the Broadway-adjacent chord progression, especially in the chorus. It’s a song you could easily imagine a young Hunter Foster belting out in the Henry Miller theater.

“Đế Vương” by Đình Dũng

Song Year: 2019

Đình Dũng is a singer and actor who made his mark by winning the Vietnamese version of the competition show “The Voice.” Why he won is apparent in “Đế Vương,” a song whose title translates as “Emperor Vương.” His voice is light and clear, and it’s filled with the emotion inherent in the song.

The lyrics tell of an emperor who loves his country and its people, but he can’t find true happiness. Why not? He’s the emperor, right? Well, he’s a good emperor, so while he’s in love with someone who doesn’t love him back, he doesn’t use his power to force her into submission.

“Đu đưa” by Bích Phương

Song Year: 2018

While “Đu đưa” translates to “let’s swing,” in the context of Bích Phương’s danceable 2018 hit, it can also mean “let’s hang out,” as in, “let’s get together, dance, and have some fun.” The singer spends the song flirting with a guy and debating with herself whether it’s okay to make the first move.

And in spite of the high-energy electronica surrounding her vocals, Phương’s singing voice is pure and clear. It’s a very pretty sound, making it seem all the more likely that the guy in question will fall under her spell.

“Dịu Dàng Em Đến” by Erik

Song Year: 2017

Erik brings soulful vocals to his songs, and he’s been rewarded for it with lots of hits since he burst onto the Vietnamese music scene in 2015.

“Dịu Dàng Em Đến” is a mid-tempo ballad about being in love. Erik uses his voice to convey those emotions present in the first flush of love as he sings about wanting to spend as much time as possible with his new romantic interest. He looks forward to seeing her night after night.

The song ranked high on the list of hit songs for 2017 in Vietnam.

“Em Hát Ai Nghe” by Orange

Song Year: 2020

Orange has a sweet and soothing voice. “Em Hát Ai Nghe” translates to something like, “I’m singing. Who is listening?” Put the sentiment with the voice, and you’ve got a really beautiful ballad about a broken heart.

The fact that it’s coming from someone as young as Orange (born in 1997, she looks even younger than she is) makes it sadder. But in the end, she sings about how, after the rain stops, the flowers bloom, so there are elements of hope underlying her despair.

“Hãy Trao Cho Anh” by Sơn Tùng M-TP feat. Snoop Dogg

Song Year: 2019

While it starts out as a synth-pop song complete with some autotune on the opening “la la la”s, “Hãy Trao Cho Anh” gives way to a driving electronic beat underlying Sơn Tùng M-TP’s rapping.

The song is about getting together with a romantic interest, and if there was any question about the kinds of activities Sơn Tùng M-TP hopes to engage in, it’s all cleared up with Snoop Dogg’s short, unexpected, and deadly cool cameo in the middle of the song.

Getting Snoop to appear on your rap song is a power move that gives you instant credibility. Nice work.

“Họ Yêu Ai Mất Rồi” by Doãn Hiếu

Song Year: 2018

From the opening piano notes of “Họ Yêu Ai Mất Rồi,” you just know it will be a sad song. When you learn that the title translates to something along the lines of “she loves someone else,” your suspicions get confirmed.

The pain of lost love and the wish for the one who’s gone away to come back are palpable in Doãn Hiếu’s delivery, as he puts real emotion into his voice.

Another veteran of Vietnam’s iteration of “The Voice,” Doãn Hiếu sings a lot of songs about love and relationships. Thankfully, they’re not all as sad as this one.

“I’m Still Loving You” by Noo Phước Thịnh

Song Year: 2016

It’s rare that an uptempo, danceable track can feel like a lot of fun while also being pretty dang sad. The implication in the title is that the narrator might still be in love, but the song’s lyrics go on to reveal that he’s still hung up on an ex, and that’s a pain that transcends language and geographical barriers.

Why the song switches to English long enough for Thịnh to sing the title is anyone’s guess, as the song’s minor key eventually conveys the inherent heartbreak despite the bouncy drum track.

“Khi Em Lớn” by Orange featuring Hoàng Dũng

Song Year: 2019

“Khi Em Lớn” is a song about heartbreak, but it’s told in the context of essentially getting what you hoped for.

The title translates to “when I grow up,” and the lyrics start out with the typical little kid wish— when I'm a grown-up, I’ll get to do cool things like stay up late. But as the song progresses, the narrator admits that now that she’s grown up, she knows what a broken heart feels like, and that wasn’t something she planned on learning when she was little.

The hit song garnered more than 20 million YouTube streams, and Orange remains a big star in Vietnamese music.

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