Zayn Malik has been the name on everybody’s lips for quite some time now, people have been full of questions ever since his split from the infamous One Direction. Little did we know, he was holed up in a recording studio for the better part of a year, ready to drop his album ‘MIND OF MINE’ exactly one year after he left the band, that’s some shady stuff.
He’s proving himself to be the independent music mogul he originally set out to be and already has the music industry eating out of the palm of his hand.
Opening up his self-acclaimed album is the track ‘MiNd Of MiNdd (Intro)’. Straight away, without rushing into anything, he’s introducing everything to you. He’s laying it all on the ground for everyone to see, and listen to. The song consists of 31 seconds of his signature high notes and heavy synths with what sounds like bongo drums to give it that classic albeit modern sound with a twist.
‘PILLOWTALK’ is next, which was his first single he released to the public just under a couple of months ago. To say it did well would be an understatement and the erotically charged, hip grinding song made in to number in the charts straight away.
Slowing things down a bit with ‘iT’s YoU’ the song is a more sombre take on not just his music style, but also his vocals. The slow drum beat accompanied by a quite melodramatic melody and his unapologetic lyrics really give the track a slightly more eerie sound. Although it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I really like the song.
“I’ve done this before, not like this, not like this” – tells the story of a boy who had a normal life, and can shockingly, still have that now. ‘BeFoUr’ is an electronic, heavy bass track with overlaying vocals which works wonders for the song itself. It’s almost as if he’s proving what he can actually do with his voice, and it’s goose bump inducing. The video itself shows how ordinary life was and still continues to be for this 23 year old singer, hanging about in Manchester, ordering takeaways and having a pint. What more could you want?
‘sHE’ is an upbeat track with elements of old school Hip Hop with a contemporary, jazzy beat. So far, his style has been different for each song and he’s proving he’s more than capable of achieving different sounds.
‘dRuNk’ is one of my absolute favourites off the album, it’s just so catchy and the lyrics, yet simple are so effective. The piano is delicate, which to me is the whole vibe of the song. Although you still have the heavy tap of the drum, his smooth voice cancels out any rough edges the song and truly portrays a more vulnerable side to him and the album.
‘INTERMISSION: fLoWer’ is the only song on the album Zayn sings in his native tongue – Urdu. What makes this song so special is the fact that it’s important to him to share that with his fans, and the fact that I can’t think right now of an artist with as much popularity as him that has been this bold before. The song itself is only short but singing about love in such a personal way, reflecting on himself as a person, and his family makes it that much more beautiful.
With a memorable beat and snappy lyrics ‘rEaR vIeW’ is another song that moves at a quick pace, but no so quickly that you can’t keep up with it. It has a clear and concise rhythm and it is enjoyable to listen too.
Slipping back into the more hip hop style of the album, ‘wRoNg (feat. Kahlani)’ uses heavy synth and bass to juxtapose the iconic voice of Malik and the feminine, yet strong voice of Kehlani. Both of the vocals mould perfectly together and the result is another great, catchy tune.
‘fOoL fOr YoU’ hooks you in straight away with just one press of graceful piano keys, one note and you’re already a goner. The first time I heard this, I had it on repeat for about 2 days and I’ve not gotten sick of it yet. It has a Sam Smith/John Legend vibe about it and it’s definitely a ballad worth listening to over and over again. The way his voice fluctuates during the chorus truly proves that he is more than capable of holding a tune. By using only the piano and the shimmer of drums, he strips away the mainstream use of electronic instruments, which to me leaves him more powerless. I think that is the aim here and to me, it screams bravery.
‘BoRdErZ’ and ‘BRIGHT’ have quite a staccato beat at the beginning regarding the way he sings the verse but it works for the kind of melody the song has anyway. Like the previous song, I think it conveys the same message: stripping everything down and leaving it all bare for people to witness. The chorus resembles what a picture a slow grind would be, and it works really well.
The next song ‘tRuTh’ strikes me as one of the most personal songs on the album and the lyrics “This wasn’t my dream, it was all yours” literally points to his past experiences being in a band for so long, and wanting to break free. It’s a lot mellower than the other songs, and it’s definitely one to chill too.
‘lUcOzAdE’ comes across to me as a frustrating song, he portrays himself as being lost and trying to find a way out of whatever he’s found himself stuck in. “I’m trying to f*cking scream, but the words won’t come out”, he’s letting himself go, everything he’s held in for so long, he can finally start to say what’s on his mind. The song ends how it begins, with a punch driven bite.
Another one of my favourites is ‘TiO’ and it’s one that gets stuck in your head because it’s that good of a song. With quite a hollowing drum beat, this is another track that talks frequently about sex but not in an obviously crass way. The song is more seductive rather than sleazy and the beat is one that will have you humming along to it.
In the next song ‘BLUE’ Malik truly masters the art of high notes and powerful pitch changes, it’s another slow one but his voice is that mesmerizing, the whole world around you gets blocked out.
‘LIKE I WOULD’ grips you straight away with its electro-pop talons and 80’s style synth in the background. While it’s definite clubhouse music, it has elements of old school R&B rhythms with fun and catchy lyrics to song along to.
Last but not least, ‘SHE DON’T LOVE ME’ is a great one to end the album on, it has quite a long intro as if it’s building you up for the rest of the song. His sound is alluring and suggestive, and is definitely one to file under the definition of provocative. While it’s not as hard hitting as most of the other songs, this sultry song leaves you wanting more.
Overall, whether you’re a new fan or an old fan, we can all agree that his album has been a huge success and over the past week he has already made it to number one in the UK and the US. I for one, am definitely excited to see what’s in store for his future as he is only just beginning to get started.