Last March, millions of teenage hearts were broken when Zayn Malik announced his departure from beloved British boy band One Direction. On Fri, Mar. 25, Zayn released his first solo album, Mind of Mine, after leaving the band exactly a year prior.
After the 57-second introduction “MiNd Of MiNdd (Intro),” the album launches into the chart-topping single, “PILLOWTALK,” which is admittedly very catchy and on those charts for a reason. Zayn has a fantastic voice with a lot of range, which fans knew already from his time in One Direction, and Mind of Mine definitely makes that known.
But from the beginning of the album, it is easy to see that Zayn’s solo debut is an attempt to change his image — drastically. It is also quite apparent that he is trying really, really hard to be different. All of the song titles have alternating uppercase and lowercase letters, and some are in all uppercase. What the purpose of this is, the world might never know, but it seems a bit unnecessarily obnoxious, and it really does make the song names difficult to read.
Upon the first listen, a lot of the songs seem to blur together, but there are some standouts besides the hit single. “BeFoUr” is the only song other than “PILLOWTALK” with a music video, which was released the same day as the album, and it is one of the more upbeat tracks that you can’t help but nod your head to.
As the album goes on, Zayn’s influences become clear. Names like The Weeknd and Frank Ocean come to mind. However, it is difficult not to associate Zayn with artists like Nick Jonas, who also left a boy band to go solo, and Justin Bieber who started out pop and has transitioned more into the hip-hop/R&B genre.
Most of the songs on the album were written by Zayn because he wanted to prove his abilities for his new genre, according to The Verge, even though it was advised that he did not. One in particular, “INTERMISSION: fLoWeR” is in his father’s native language, Urdu, and is about his heart and ability to love, according to Bustle. It is one of the more soulful tracks that even those who do not speak the language can appreciate.
The track “wRoNg” features Khelani, an R&B singer-songwriter who is becoming more popular by the minute. It sounds a lot like something the new Nick Jonas would come out with, but Kehlani adds a bit more of a twist to the song. It has a very chill, relaxed beat, and their voices compliment each other well.
A personal favorite from the album, “fOoL fOr YoU” sounds a like a more raw version of a Sam Smith song, and Zayn uses it to show off his range and singing abilities well, leading me to believe that maybe he is more fit for this style of music. It is a sweet song about love, which admittedly I am a sucker for, but is unlike many of the other songs on the album.
Overall, the album is pretty okay. Zayn may be trying a little bit too hard (it’s a little weird to hear a former One Direction member drop the f-bomb regularly), but his voice kind of makes up for it. Honestly, he seems more likely to become another Justin Bieber than to become the next Miguel, but I wish him luck on his musical journey.
If you’re a fan of literally any of the artists mentioned previously, I would advise one to give Mind of Mine a try, ignore the weird capitalization, get over the fact that he was in One Direction and give it another try — it just might grow on you.