Zayn takes new direction on “Mind of Mine”

The ex-boy band member shows us that One Direction was just the tip of the iceberg for him.
Courtesy of Genius

Since his departure from One Direction last year, we’ve been emotionally awaiting Zayn Malik’s (now known as just Zayn) solo album, “Mind Of Mine.” The first member from the British boy band to go solo, Zayn’s album has a sound that better suits him. Where he was once singing top 40 pop with four other guys, he is now singing a mix of dance pop and smooth R&B all by himself. His new sound is both captivating and polarizing, especially for One Direction purists.

“PILLOWTALK” was the first single released from the album. The song was met with some backlash for its raw, uncensored sexual message — something not usually found in the clean cut tracks of 1D. Regardless, the song was a strong start for the ex-boy band member in establishing his own (sultry) voice. It was accompanied by a kind of bizarre music video, which could either be defined as artistic or just really weird. But we’ll let you be the judge on that one.

The next single, “iT’s YoU,” took a more romantic turn, featuring Zayn’s iconic falsetto. The song has a sort of smooth, other-worldly feel. It’s definitely unlike anything we’ve heard from him before. “BeFoUr” is another single from the album, and is the kind of song that will be stuck in your head forever but in the best way. On this track, it’s clear that Zayn knows he will be met with criticism as a solo artist, but it’s also clear he doesn’t care. He points out that we should trust his new direction because, in his words, “I’ve done this before/not like this.” Another standout track on “Mind of Mine” is “wRoNg” featuring Kehlani, a track reminiscent of Usher’s “Lemme See” and just as sexually charged. The R&B influence definitely comes across in this song. This is one of those songs where you’ll pretend to be Kehlani singing a duet with Zayn, and it’s seriously satisfying. We tested it for you already. You know, for the sake of accurate reporting. “INTERMISSION: fLoWer” is possibly the most unexpected track on the whole album. Why? The entire song is sung is in Urdu, his father’s native language. It’s not a long song, coming in at 1:44, but, strange as it may seem, the vibe of the song fits well with the rest of the tracks from the album. Also, it’s just fascinating to hear him sing in a different language. While many people don’t know how to feel about Zayn’s album, whether because of their allegiance to One Direction or just because they don’t really like Zayn as a person, it definitely deserves a listen. Not every song is a standout, but the more we listen to it, the more we like it. It has a nice slow burn to it. Really, it’s just good to hear his voice again. **MOVE gives “Mind Of Mine” 4 out of 5 stars.** _Edited by Katherine Rosso | krosso@themaneater.com_

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