This is why Zayn Malik left One Direction after 5 years. The announcement of Zayn Malik leaving the band that he had grown up with, traveled the world with, created number one albums with, and made millions of dollars with was not only a shock to Directioners but also to the everyday music enthusiast. The Bradford, England born singer made it big when he was just 17 years of age. His given name was Zain Javvad Malik, of Pakistani descent, in which he later decided to change to his stage name of Zayn Malik. Gathering the courage to perform on the X Factor was the first step in the life changing journey that young Zayn was about to embark on. Simon Cowell was the mastermind behind 1D and the judge from X Factor that created the dynamic and charismatic band back in 2010. After seeing all 5 boys perform separately in different X Factor auditions, he decided to forge all of their talents and have them try out as a unit. The rest is history.
After their first number one hit the band immediately blew up. As their fan base grew, so did the boys. There are always certain roles in a “boyband” that have to be taken by a member whether or not it fits that person’s personality of not. Harry Styles was the cover boy and the heart throb. The other boys filled the roles of: funny one, mature one, smart one, and the mysterious/bad one. Zayn was pushed into the mysterious role because he was so quiet in group interviews. The average person doesn’t even really know what his speaking voice sounds like. Zayn was the bands go to for high notes. He wasn’t given as much airtime as Harry even though it is a valid argument that he is a better singer. Zayn was pushed into the shadows. After announcing his retirement from the band it was immediately rumored that there was a horrible fight between the bandmates. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. He left One Direction because the whole band scene didn’t fit him anymore. He felt like he needed a break from it to focus on himself and his family. He is still on good terms with all his mates that he started his musical career with and they support him.
No one really knew what to expect with the launching of his new album. In addition to dropping out of the band, he also dropped his last name, changing his name again he now represents himself as simply Zayn. Is he a bratty superstar who got greedy? Will he sink as a solo artist or will he get the recognition he thinks he deserves? This album could make or break this young artist’s musical endeavors. Failing at a solo career, after leaving one of the most powerful boy bands in the world- as of today, is defiantly something that would haunt the 23 year old artist for a long time to come.
Life is all about risks, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Zayn has defiantly, without a doubt come out on top. His debut solo album Mind of Mine is one that will be at the top of the charts for quite some time. It is currently number one on the Billboard Album Chart. The album cover resembles that of Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne. A toddler version of Zayn is portrayed with matching tattoos on both his arms and hands as well as a golden bracelet. Dropping the music video for ‘PILLOWTALK’ featuring his supermodel/social media icon girlfriend GiGi Hadid was the first step in getting the attention of his fans. The video went viral that day, racking up millions of views and downloads. Leaving everyone anxious to hear the rest of the album, Zayn had everyone in the palm of his hand.
The intro to his album has a strange spelling as do all of the songs on his project. ‘MiNd Of MiNdd’, is a quick 57 second song with high vocals that gives you an idea about what he is capable of and what the rest of the album will sound like. Following up is his new hit song ‘PILLOWTALK’. This title is in all caps along with 4 other songs. It is hard to tell why some songs are all caps and others are alternating between uppercase and lowercase. It was a stylistic choice that fits the mysterious artist. I believe the reason that he did this was so that the listener can come up with their own theories for what each spelling means. Its up to each individual listener to decide. ‘PILLOWTALK’ gives you an in depth look into what the real meaning behind pillow talk really is. For some, pillow talk can be an awkward 45 minutes before getting up and sending that person home, but for Zayn it is his favorite thing to do with his significant other. Singing about how he loves waking up next to his girl every morning, not caring about the noise they make, and how pure and raw it really is.
The next track titled ‘iT’s YoU’ is a slower song where Zayn really hits you in the feels with long soft vocals referencing how no matter how much he hates it , he knows deep down that this certain girl is the one for him. Questioning himself saying “Am I wrong for wanting us to make it?” Zayn is very honest in this track saying “Could it be that it’s a lesson that I never had to learn, I looked at it like a blessing but it’s just a curse.” He’s confessing that he has never had his heart broken. Many can relate to this.
Another heavy hitter on the album is the song ‘dRuNk’.’ dRuNk’ is exactly what you would think it’s about, but it has a little bit more to it’s meaning than just getting drunk on shots late at night. Zayn communicates his emotions about how he feels when he is with this person that has the ability to make him feel drunk simply with their presence. Another interesting stylistic choice to this album, besides the spelling of the songs is that it has an intermission. It is titled ‘INTERMISSION: fLoWer’. The intermission fades into Zayn singing in Urdu, a tribute to his Pakistani descents. The short song is actually a very tranquil piece to listen to, even without translation, it is very peaceful.
The song ‘wRoNg’ feat. Kehlani is the only song on the album that has a featured artist on it. In an interview with Complex News Zayn said after that Kehlani was his favorite artist that he has ever worked with. He was very excited to have her on his first ever solo project. They absolutely killed the song. The aggressive song is a message that Zayn has for all the girls that are trying to get to his heart through his bed sheets. Throughout the song saying “You’re looking in the wrong place for my love, don’t think because you’re with me this is real” just because she is spending the night at his house doesn’t mean it’s going to be anything more.” While he is not complaining, he is being straight up honest.
The track ‘fooL fOr YoU’ makes you want to call up your ex and make everything right again. On the song, Zayn speaks to how even though the love is tainted, he still needs her and he hates it. He loves everything this girl does and can’t help but miss her. Nearly everyone can relate to this song, whether you are a fan or not, this song will make you want to listen twice. One of the more sex driven songs named ‘TiO’, standing for take it off, is about Zayn not being able to wait for his girl to take off her makeup and clothes. This will eventually lead to pillowtalk in the morning which we know by now is one of Zayn’s favorite hobbies.
Zayn recently performed the song ‘LIKE I WOULD’ at the iHeart Music Awards, it would be his first solo performance on live TV. This was really a make or break for the fresh artist. Would it turn out that he is all autotuned, like so many artists, and that he can’t perform well when it’s live? Would he be able to hit the high notes that he is known for? The performance was filled with stunning lasers, a successful range of high notes and a standing ovation at the end. He absolutely killed it, solidifying his spot as a top tier performer. ‘LIKE I WOULD’ is a fast tempo song about a conversation between himself and an ex lover. Singing to this woman about how the man that she is with will never be able to satisfy her like he would. How Zayn is the best fit for her and that she will soon realize it.
Overall this album has a new spin on R&B that only the mysterious Zayn could produce. He has an interesting sound that draws you in and make you listen to his songs over and over. There is a reason that he is number one on the charts and in people’s hearts right now. The old Zayn will be missed by Directioners. I have a feeling that they will be able to move on with the new Zayn dropping hot albums like this every couple of years.