Dil Ki Baat - Junaid (2002)

If you thought that Junaid Jamshed's last offering, "Us Rah Par," was his best effort, then you were mistaken because in "Dil Ki Baat," JJ has proved that he is an artist with loads of talent still left in him.

This album kicks off with "Dil Ki Baat" that has been composed in the mould of "Aitebar." "Dil Ki Baat" has extraordinary use of instruments ranging from sitar, tabla and flute to guitars, piano and violin and this combination makes it the best song of the album. The haunting composition of "Sanwala" - specially written for those Pakistani expatriates who have not visited their homeland since going abroad decades ago - will make you feel sorry for your fellow countrymen living away from home. "Yaar" is JJ's first Punjabi song and features twice in the album. The first version is played entirely on guitars with the bass groove sample taken from Michael Jackson's "Bad" while the other one, named "new mix," features original and outstanding work with the guitars by Nabeel Nihal. With Punjabi lyrics, western composition and brilliant performance by JJ on either versions, the song is set to make people go crazy.

Hasan Akbar Kamal pens down the lyrics of the full-of-romance "Tum Kehti Ho" and "Janaa" - which is a rendition of "The Wide World" by Mr. Big - and does a terrific job that matches his earlier patriotic work "Jeetain Gay," "Aise Hum Jiyaen" and "Maula." "Intezaar" is JJ's first attempt at playback singing as this number features in Shoaib Mansoor's Siachen-based feature film "Yeh Baraf Hamari Hai." It is a different filmi song and the mixture of magnum opus lyrics, brilliant composition and excellent vocals, makes it an eternal classic.

The grievous-yet-tempting "Aashna" and "Kaho Na" mark the beginning of the second side while the slow and irresistible numbers - "Aankhon Ka" and "Aao Aaj Phir" - make you listen to them again and again. The last song of the album, "Hone Ko Hai" is a happy-go-lucky number in which JJ displays the touch that gave his fans evergreen songs like "Mera Dil Nahin Available" and "Woh Kaun Thi."

The whole album reveals the talents of Nabeel (guitars), Kamijee (keyboards and production) and JJ while the ever-dependable Shoaib Mansoor does a terrific job as the lyricist of all but two songs. The album has been recorded jointly on both sides of the Wagah Border and listeners will find a beautiful amalgamation of the Indian and Pakistani side of playing. If you are an ardent JJ-fan and have been waiting for something different from his side, then "Dil Ki Baat" is a must buy album for you.

Omair Alvi
Dawn, Pakistan