Before the release of debut solo single 'PILLOWTALK', talk was rife about just what kind of solo artist Zayn Malik would become. There were high hopes from many but just as many doubters who didn't believe he'd be able to pull it off. Through that debut single, Zayn dropped his surname and solidified himself as a real powerful pop-meets-R&B unit, delivering soulful and brooding vocals alongside an explosive and infectious chorus, which sent him straight to the top of the charts both in the UK and the US - the latter of which his former band One Direction never achieved.
Now with his solo record available for the world to listen to, Zayn's achieved everything he could have wanted to with a debut venture. Bad choices were made in the stylisation of song titles, but most of the tracks included on 'MIND OF MINE' are an exciting blend of the genres he's tapped to into the past, whilst he explores new avenues and experiments with his vocals, whether that be through the use of his own abilities or through technology.
It's these experimental songs which really elevate the album as a whole to another level. 'Flower' may only be an intermission at just under two minutes long, but it's one of the most interesting listens on the record, sung entirely in Urdu in recognition of his own Pakistani heritage.
'Rear View' is beautifully catchy - you really believe Zayn would be there for you when he sings 'You sound like you need a friend', but after hearing what comes both before and after it's likely you'd end up alone, kicking yourself for allowing him to get too close. It'd be harsh to call Zayn a 'user' without knowing really anything about the man himself, but the persona he pushes through this LP could certainly fit into that mould.
Kehlani's feature on 'Wrong' is a masterful stroke. The blend of their voices is a gorgeous one and, for me, this would be the perfect choice for a single release. It's the album's only song featuring another artist, which really allows Zayn to take centre-stage and prove his worth.
Despite addictive tracks it's hard to find a narrative in 'MIND OF MINE'. There are two definitive themes - women and sex - which are peppered throughout the majority of the tunes on offer and sometimes become overbearing. Zayn seems all too excited to prove that he's a man now rather than a young 'boybander', but in pushing sexualisation so hard he actually falls onto his face a couple of times and slips into a slightly corny, parodied version of himself.
With a gorgeous falsetto and willingness to stand out amongst the crowd, 'MIND OF MINE' is Zayn's mating call. He's a true seductor, unafraid of the consequences of both his love and his lust and, for the most part, has found great success here.
'MIND OF MINE' is available now.
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