Album Review: ZAYN’s ‘Mind’ goes more than One Direction

In 2015 Zain Javadd Malik, better known by his stage name Zayn or as one fifth of the world’s biggest boy band One Direction, was ready for a change. He disappointed millions of fans by departing the X-Factor/Simon Cowel formed global sensation One Direction, and effectively turned the quintet to a quartet.
Soon after departing, Zayn began work on his solo music. After feeling a bit crippled musically while in One Direction, Zayn wanted his solo debut to speak to his true musical ambitions; less Pop/Rock and more R&B/Soul. The aptly titled Mind Of Mine, is that body of work.

Nearly a year later in January, Zayn debuted his newfound mature music and released “Pillowtalk.” The unapologetic R&B midtempo takes Zayn away from his cookie cutter boy band days straight to a lovers paradise and war zone. Boy was the move smart! “Pillowtalk” managed to top the Billboard Hot 100, unlike any of the One Direction mega hits with or without Zayn!
If you were used to the uptempo Pop Rock/Dance sounds like “Best Song Ever” and “What Makes You Beautiful,” Mind Of Mine will have you longing for more, elsewhere.
The majority of the album is full of ballads and mid-tempos that don’t sound like the previous music Zayn collaborated on in One Direction. Mind Of Mine is darker, edgier, and sexier. It is reflective of a 23 year old adult—not the teenager he was when the band was formed in 2010.
All said, Mind Of Mine does have some ear candy. Suitable future single “She” is a laid back R&B/Pop number that would sit well as a Justin Timberlake/Timbaland collaboration. Meanwhile “Fool For You” takes Zayn back to the heyday of R&B crooners who sung their hearts out over simple piano based melodies. Album highlight “She Don’t Love Me” surprisingly only manages to make an appearance on the LP’s deluxe edition.
If upping the sexual tension and overall image of Zayn was his goal, he achieved it. “Take it Off,” or “TiO,” praises a lover who doesn’t need their makeup or clothes on, “Let’s get naked and explore/our inner secrets/for what it is/it’s what it is.” You almost forget you’re listening to Zayn—not Robin Thicke—as he sings “taste your sweet profanity/it’s all for a good cause/think you’re doing a good job” in his higher register on “Borderz.”

Zayn wanted to create something that truly was from his own mindMind Of Mine truly takes fans from One Direction and Zayn Malik on a journey far away from what they may have been used to from him. The darker, moodier vibes catapult Zayn far from a contemporary R&B/Pop album—like what you may expect from Usher or Jason Derulo—into a realm more experimental like 2015’s breakout sensation, The Weeknd.
So if you want high octane, full of energy, One Direction-like Pop music, this isn’t the album for you. In Zayn’s Mind he’s already won over that portion of the market. Now he’s ready for a new challenge. Becoming a well respected, serious musician.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: