With the new album "Mind of Mine," released on Friday, former One Direction band member Zayn Malik exhibits his new solo prowess and the many facets of his talents.
Mixing pop and a hint of R&B, Zayn’s "Mind of Mine" album is his first full body of work since leaving his position of One Direction boy band sensation. Ever since Zayn’s first single of the album, "Pillowtalk," skyrocketed to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, anticipation of this new album has been at an all-time high and Zayn listeners everywhere have been patiently awaiting the album's release date of March 25.
The much-anticipated album gives listeners a taste of the new, unfiltered Zayn — a peek inside of his mellow, explicit and free mind. As Zayn attempts to fully shed his boy band image by displaying an urgently adult dynamic, he also seems to have a need to be overtly explicit and sexual as well as to create a type of bad boy dynamic.
Vocally, Zayn slides timidly over 1990s R&B beats and sings falsetto, pushing listeners to have flashbacks to Justin Timberlake and his "Justified" days. "Mind of Mine" shows off Zayn's amazing command of the adult contemporary R&B genre. His transition from pop to a Trey Songz-type erotic theme is awesome and very present in the album. Very few current pop singers have the ability to mix this level of eroticism in their music.
The track "It’s You" harmonizes and allows a guitar solo here and there and is a bit calmer than the first solo track "Pillowtalk." "It’s You" is also phenomenally engineered and designed to play in your head for weeks after listening.
In the entire album, Zayn mirrors the style of Justin Bieber's "Purpose" album with a soulful, sensual pop sound that shows that Zayn, like Bieber, can shed the innocent image that attracted teens and move to a slightly older, more mature audience.
Zayn promised fans that this album would be “very sexual." However, I think this album is a mix of emotions that ranges from falling in love to lust to, perhaps, a fleeting sexual encounter. The amount of emotion displayed in each and every track made me believe that true love is more appealing to Zayn than sex.
Creating an overtly sexual album might have been important to Zayn in order to fully shed his boy band image and branch out as a solo artist. He has successfully established himself as an artist in his own right, and I don’t think he needs to pretend it’s all about sex and cursing. Instead, Zayn has released an album that, yes, focuses on adult themes, but also exhibits the full extent of his solo musical talent.
Instead of the dance-pop of One Direction, Zayn has settled for a chill, mellow type pop with just a touch of R&B. Zayn’s debut "Mind of Mine" breaks the average pop music mold that caters to teenage girls and graduates his audience into a more mature group of listeners. Overall, "Mind of Mine" is no disappointment and truly merits the anticipation it received pre-release.