Vietnamese netizens have recently expressed outrage at some of the songs they called “music disasters.” These songs, they charged, were an offense to the ears of the unfortunate people who have to listen to them.
“Nhac te ghe” (falling-out-of-chair music), a term coined by Tuoi Tre Newspaper to describe the kind of music that is so bad or shocking that it can make the listeners fall out of their chairs, has attracted an enormous amount of attention from the netizens who responded with tons of critical comments.
“Nhac te ghe,” a disaster
To the people who dislike the music, if you are not a fan of Vietnam’s pop music, then listening to these “disastrous songs” only confirms your good judgment.
With overly simple, to the point of being inane, lyrics, the song “Tam Hon La Vinh Cuu (Eternal Soul), sung by Phi Thanh Van, gave a nasty shock to people who listened to it.
Written for the movie “Tham My Vien (Beauty Salon),” the song tells the story of an unattractive girl whose life changed radically after she underwent a plastic surgery. Although it has a lofty message about the beauty of the human soul, the song failed miserably to appeal to the listeners’ aesthetics because of its bland and banal lyrics.
“Art is finding the quintessence inside the simplicity. The song is simple, but the singer shows she has no idea about art,” a netizen nicknamed DEE wrote on the forum in response to the topic “Why are we seeing a boom in ‘nhac te ghe’?” launched by the newspaper last month.
Meaningless sentences like “We love each other, we trust each other, so why, why, why, why, why did you lie to me?”, repeated many times in the song “Lie” by Phuong My give listeners a feeling of being under torture rather than enjoying art.
Nguyen Dinh Bao, a reader, wrote that he just wanted to hide his face when he happened to listen to the song.
“Although everyone has the right to compose songs, I still feel bad about this. Our mother language does not lack beautiful words, but why weren’t they used in this song?”
Another “disaster of the Vietnamese music” comes from a song called “The flip side of the truth” by the boy band HKT. The song tells the story of a man who feels betrayed by his wife, who is a lesbian. The annoying singing voice, along with the sensitive scenes of a lesbian couple and the singers’ shocking outfits, has made the song and the singers who performed it an object of ridicule by many readers.
“The singers got very weird style. I wonder if they receive any training in singing or just spend money on making a video and become an artist. I have no idea how they dare to perform such a song. It shows no respect at all to the audience,” a netizen nicknamed netskyvnn expressed his feeling.
From “mega” to “mini” disasters
While the storm over these “music disasters” has not exhausted itself yet, netizens have once again been knocked out of their chairs by another storm of “mini disasters.”
The three-kid band HKTM, a children’s version of the HKT band, has offended netizens with its song “Mom’s gone.”
Working under the same managing company as the HKT band, HKTM also shocks the audiences visually with their bizarre outfit.
The dance moves and the music remixed for dance clubs completely ruin the song, with many emotional lyrics about the love of a mother for her boy (“I feel lonely in a stranger’s land/ Mom’s always by my side every single step of the way)”.
A Youtube user commented: “How can they honor their mother with such ‘cheap’ music?” “They sing about their mother dying but the heavy music and the rock-style dance give the impression that they are celebrating something extremely joyous,” another commented.
Another mini disaster that has caused a storm on the Internet is the ACK band. With their children’s voices, three little boys of the band sing and dance like adults. In the video clip for the song “Hey you,” the boys follow a little girl and flirt with her.
“You are too young to sing such kind of music. I support your singing career but only if you choose suitable songs to sing,” a netizen shared his thought.
“Nhac te ghe” – just an act of youthful indiscretion
Still, these singers and bands can have their own supporters.
Le Van Tinh, a netizen, said: “I think these songs are just normal. Why are others so critical? Our music industry needs more experiments and breakthroughs like HKT’s work. About their outfits, it’s necessary for artists to impress the audience. People need to understand them!” Others do not pass judgment on these bands and their music either, but try to understand the phenomenon.
Nguyen Hoang Khac Hieu, a professor from HCMC University of Pedagogy, shared his opinions with Tuoi Tre. Although these songs may not be classified as “high art music,” he thinks they reflect the daily life of a certain class of people and are not horrible enough to be criticized.
“They’re just common foods for commoners.” Hieu also warned that people who criticize these groups may have been looking down on a group of people in society.
Nguyen Ngoc Thien, a well-known local musician offered his comment: “Many people call them disasters; I think their only crime is just being foolish and immature singers who want to be famous by doing something that shocks the public.”
Sharing the same opinion with Thien, Do Trung Quan, a reputed poet and musician, calls this kind of music an example of youthful indiscretion.
Should “nhac te ghe” be banned?
Most of opinions on the forum focus on banning this kind of music.
“They do not deserve to be singers or musicians. Shouldn’t the authorities carry out an investigation to “clean” the music industry?” Duong Nguyen Minh Kha shared his opinion. Others thought “nhac te ghe” would sizzle out and eventually disappear from the scene because people will soon get bored with it.
They also focus on orienting the youth’s music taste.
A reader nicknamed Peter Bean said: “Actually it’s hard for the authorities to control that kind of music since there’s no law for them to act on. So what they can do is educate the youth about Vietnam’s beautiful traditional values so they can stay away from making or listening to these bad forms of music.”
What do the singers say?
Phuong My, the singer of the song “Lie” said she just wanted to make a difference. About her “music disaster” which has attracted 800,000 views so far with over 11,000 “dislikes” against 406 “likes” from Youtube users, she nevertheless felt happy since it has brought her close to the audiences.
Also, the singer said it was just the beginning of her singing career.
Unlike My, critical comments let the group HKT down badly. The band explained they made the clip “The flip side of the truth” not to cause a shock but to be different.
The band also said they accepted all the comments and would change their styles to be more in tune with the taste of the teenage audiences.
“We will make cleaner and more mature videos,” the band promised.