I didn´t believe Anu Malik when he said that he was not going to copy any more music in the future, but it seems like his words were the truth. Border is Anu Malik´s best album since Akele Hum Akele Tum in late 1995. Its too bad that Javed Akhtar, the lyricist of this album, reported won´t be working with Malik after the album Ishq. Akhtar has done a superb job with this album alongside Malik, whose post-Gundaraj & Hulchul days seem to be over.
Border dictates the trend of today, post- Papa Kahte Hain and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, slow, creative, classical and natural. All five of the songs in this album are medium to slow paced, they are all creative and nothing is inspired completely from other songs (i.e. "Dil Makka Dina" from Auzaar which was completely inspired by the all-famous Macarena), all have a touch of classical Hindi music blended with touches of Anu Malik´s creativity and the use of synthetic music is avoided for the most part.
The albums starts out with a medium paced song that could easily blend into a movie of the seventies, although fits even better today. "Ke Ghar Kab Aaoge" is a medium paced song that is beautifully sung by upcoming singer Sonu Nigam and Roop Kumar Rathod (of Bhairavi and Ghazal fame). Nigam does a beautiful job crafting carefully the ups and downs in his voice as he compliments the brilliant Rathod who does similarly, although lacks the sweet Rafi-style voice of Nigam. Javed Akhtar´s lyrics are perfect for the song and is complimented by Malik´s beautiful crafting of music. The only problem with this song is the length-- the first time one hears it, one believes that it will never stop, although as heard more often the song seems to go faster.
"Mere Dushman Mere Bhai" is another nine minute ten second slow song that is crafted by Hariharan´s sweet voice. Malik´s music isn´t as brilliant as the previous song, although he does a great job with dealing with keeping a constant beat throughout the song and keeping the tone of the previous song. The music also seems to be similar to "Jiske Aane Se" from Diljale. Akhtar´s lyrics are again, superb.
The next song is by far the best of the album. "Hamen Jab Se Mohobaat" is a slow classical duet sung by Sonu Nigam and Alka Yagnik. This is one of Yagnik´s best sung songs in recent years. A classical touch is put on by the rhythm and is complimented by Yagnik and Nigam´s voice and classical experience. Yagnik and Nigam flow through the song quite easily. Malik´s music is reminiscent of old Rafi-Lata duets, as the song follows a similar track. Malik does a brilliant job in not disturbing the music with any western beats. Akhtar´s lyrics are just as good as the previous two numbers.
"To Chalun" is a solo by Roop Kumar Rathod. Malik falters with the music in the song, although not as bad as he has in previous cases, as the song is still listenable. Akhtar´s lyrics are not as good as previous numbers because of an annoying repetition of the title in the middle of the song. This could have been avoided by Malik drafting another beat at the mark where the repetitions are made or Akhtar´s lyrics being tweaked a bit. Rathod´s singing is up to par.
The final song is a true desi song. "Hindustan Hindustan" starts out with a classical line by Sonali Rathod and continues with Shankar Mahadevan´s Aalaps and splendid singing. Kulbhushan Kharbanda´s commentary plays a major part in the song, with dialogue by O.P. Dutta. Akhtar and Malik don´t have much to do in the song, except for providing the music and the lyrics Hindustan Hindustan, Mere Aan Mere Shaan Mere Jaan Hindustan.
Anu Malik has continued with his post-Akele Hum Akele Tum style in this film and has come up with a brilliant album. In this stage he has provided several "fast" albums, like Judwaa and Auzaar (which did well in the box-office, although were criticized unceasingly by critics) and "slow" albums like Tamanna, Diljale (for the most part) and Virasaat (and now Border). Malik may have a chance to make his run back to the top if he can continue this trend with forthcoming albums like Kareeb and Ishq.