Over a small strumming guitar, Khanh Loan croons, “Bat dau lai thoi ban cua toi oi / Dung khoc them cho nguoi da xa roi / Muon phien nhieu cang lam doi u toi / Hay lau kho di giot nuoc mat tren moi.” With her high, slightly scratchy voice, she delivers the title track on her second album, Bat Dau Lai Thoi, like a songbird trying to heal her own wound. Breakup is excruciating and she determines to start over. She wrote the song and invited Jimmy Nguyen for the duet. His role is to share her pain and to comfort her.
By the time she gets to “Tro Cut Bac Trong Tinh Yeu,” another track under her own pen, she has completely erased him off her memory: “Gio toi xoa vet dau / Gio toi xoa het u sau / Gio toi xoa moi tinh dau do dang.” Yes, he is gone and she makes sure he knows so on “Thoi.” Over a club mix, she declares, “Thoi anh dung khoc nua lam gi. Ky niem sau an tinh cu xa xua.” It’s not the most innovative mix, but it helps break up the emotional tracks that run throughout the album.
Although she could ride up-tempo beats, her dark, soulful voice is more suitable on slow, heart-rending tunes. Hoai An’s “Khong The Xa Hon” is perfect for her voice. She soars out the hook with power and carries out the words like she needs to get them off her chest. Bat Dau Lai Thoi is not a bad pop record at all.