My Guilty Pleasures: Thanh Thao, Ung Hoang Phuc, Hoang Thuy Linh

Lately I got tired listening to Vietnamese timeless ballads that had been covered with uninspiring results; therefore, I have turned my attention to dance-pop hits. Thanh Thao’s 2010 Dance Remix is still on heavy rotation in my car stereo. Each morning, the medleys help me stay awake until my grande bold at Starbucks pumps in. The opening track, “Lien Khuc Nguoi Yeu Cua Toi,” is extremely addictive. The Thai-translated “Ok Minh Chia Tay” in particular grooves me and I always get a kick out of the nursery rhymes: “Nguoi doi thay ma toi dau co hay / Vi chot yeu nen dang cay / Nguoi muon quen ngay xua nhu bong may / Ok minh chia tay.” Tien Dat has done a great job of incorporating the lyrics into his delivery and his flow is tight.

My second guilty pleasure is Ung Hoang Phuc’s Greatest Hits, in which he re-recorded some of his signature slow ballads with up-tempo productions. “Toi Di Tim Toi” is addictive as hell and the beat is catchier than a motherfucker. The upbeat version of “Co Don Mot Vi Sao” is also off the hook. The beat speeds up as the song progresses and the lyrics can’t get any sweeter than this: “Nay hoi ong trang tren cao / Co hay toi dang nho nang / Phai chang luc nay nang cung dang nhin ong.” Any man who talks to the moon is simply romantic. I am totally gay for that.

Lastly, I am not ashamed to admit that I get more pleasure listening to Hoang Thuy Linh’s debut than watching her sex video. I viewed the clip once (out of curiosity of course), but I have been enjoying the album over and over again like a bitter cup of coffee. Her sexy voice along with the ingenious beats seduce me. She is more naked on the slow pop ballads, “Cam On Vi Da Yeu Em,” “Anh Co Nho Gi,” “Cho Nhau Loi Di Rieng,” than in the video, in which she appeared extremely uncomfortable even though she was an actress. Her acting on camera had ended, but she was able to transfer her skills to music. When she sings, “Luc em buon anh luon gan ben / Luc em vui nhin anh cuoi theo nhu anh la em,” her emotion is convincing and that is a songstress. As for the rest of the up-tempo numbers including the title track, “Nghe Nay Chang Trai,” “Khoc Lan Cuoi,” I just want to bounce along and she did so without the help from the none-sense raps. Hoang Thuy Linh had done put the Vietnamese pop music on the map and I can’t wait to hear what she’ll have to offer next.