A Look into the Mind of Zayn


Like his decision to leave One Direction and forge his own musical footprint, Zayn Malik’s new album is bold. Stylizing Malik’s name as ZAYN, the much-anticipated “Mind of Mine” promised fans a style more unique to the artist. He certainly delivers.

Littered with expletives and sensual themes, this album as a whole establishes ZAYN as an adult, who faces heavier problems than the tween bops of One Direction. In fact, Malik captures his weariness of One Direction’s old sound with his song “Be FoUR.” Waxing his message through melodic poeticism, Zayn proclaims that he doesn’t sing simply for the act of singing, but he does so to “feel all the right funk.”

Perhaps the most recognizable embodiment of the neo-ZAYN sound is the song “PILLOWTALK,” released in January as an album teaser. Raw and personal, the lyrics “PILLOWTALK” describe Malik’s girlfriend as his ”enemy” yet his “ally.”

Relationships and the complexities within them, in fact, are common themes throughout the album. Though PILLOWTALK is Malik’s most recognizable song on love, “wRoNg” does it best. First pulling in audiences with a soulful serenade, the song quickly leads to a crashing bass drop, gripping listeners with drawn-out power.

Best of all, Kehlani’s feature proves to be more than a short stint. After she nails her own breathy, sweet introduction, she backs up Zayn several times, and her whispered “Don’t Stop” exudes sensuality into this breakup piece.

But what really makes this album stand out is his full-ranged voice–endearing and captivating. Full of depth and heart, “iT’s YoU” has a rather mellow feel. and a lack of a constant beat, which only serves to highlight Zayn’s breathtaking vocals.

Indeed, Zayn’s isolated falsetto riffs and phrasing recreate the aura of an intimate conversation of lovers, hushed words folded and pressed into each other’s palms. If successful songs are supposed to move audiences, Zayn surely outdid himself in “iT’s YoU.”

Beyond just the new-age adult sensuality to explorations of his voice, the artistic endeavor in this album is palpable, ostensibly so. Yet oftentimes, Zayn’s quest to paint himself as decidedly and independently artistic become unnecessary and even confusing.

Though perhaps the entire album, save for its capitalization, proved a great debut, “lUcOzAdE” led listeners into confusion. Referencing a mix of energy drink Lucozade and alcohol, Zayn recounts on his experiences while intoxicated, with a stream-of-consciousness feel leaning heavily upon the steady beat. Though the melody itself isn’t bad, the song lacks any real road map of a direction or a definitive climax.

Despite a few disappointing artistic risks, “Mind of Mine” distinguishes ZAYN from the world of One Direction, and in an industry where meaningless pop is the dependable baseline, that’s what’s important.

– Noor Adatia – News Editor & Jenny Zhu – Assistant Web Editor –