Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to discuss one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year:
Zayn Malik’s debut album, Mind Of Mine
The origins of this album begin exactly one year ago today, when Zayn announced that he would be leaving One Direction, the band that essentially brought him to hearts of millions around the world. His initial reason for leaving was a need wanting to live life like a normal 22 year old. But that idea was soon tossed into the flames when his debut single, Pillow TalkÂ hit the airwaves a few short months later.
Based on Pillow Talk alone, it was obvious that this was an attempt at shedding that squeaky clean boy band persona that had be forced upon Zayn in his One Direction Days. And a successful attempt it was. The single went on to doÂ something One Direction could never do with any of their singles ever: debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.Â The closest 1D ever got that kind of recognition wasÂ with ‘Best Song Ever’, which reached Number Two on the Billboard Top 100 charts back in 2013.
Fast forward to today, March 25th, a day that was once considered the saddest day in modern fan girl history (coming second to Justin Bieber’s mugshot fiasco), it can now be classified as a happy occasion: the release of “Mind Of Mine,” and the start of Zayn’s world domination.
“Mind Of Mine”
Release: March 25, 2016
Label: RCAÂ Records
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Mind of Mine is a contemporary R&B that consists of nearly an hour of worth of hits. Every song is different than the last but manages to stay consistent from top to bottom. And there is no denying Zayn’s vocal talent. He has a voice that demands to be heard and hits notes beyond your wildest dreams, with the slightest amount of effort. The overall sound of the album is nothing new or innovative. It’s obvious that Zayn’s sound is influenced by Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber (circa Journals & Purpose) Miguel, and hints of Prince. But this sound IS something new for this artist. Considering how all we ever got to hear him perform were Journey and The Who inspired records. Throughout the years it’s become obvious thatÂ people desperately want there to be some type of “post boy band” formula that artists brave enough to go solo should follow. This clearly influences the reviews; rather than looking at the album objectively, most look at it through the limited lens of ‘ex boy bander. But hopefully after today, Zayn will never have to have any mention One Direction attached to his work from here on out.Â The deluxe edition of Mind Of Mine is 18 tracks long but today we will be taking a deeper look into only four of them.
Like I Would
This album desperately needed an up tempo record to kick it into high gear. And unfortunately to anyone who purchases the standard version they’ll never hear this gem. Which is probably why Zayn made this his second single. He knew it needed to be heard by all. This record is heavy withÂ rich and warm vocals with a ton ofÂ R&B in the mix, and Â EDM-worthy backing beats also. Compared to all of the tracks on this album, it’s definitely the stand out, it’s nothing like anything we’ve heard Zayn perform before. And something I would’ve never pictured for him. But his performance for this Â manages to come off effortless as hell to him.Intermission: Flower
This record is one of the more standout records on the album, but not for the reasons you’d assume. The mid-album interlude is sung by Zayn but not in English. It’s actually performed inÂ Urdu, the native language of Zayn’s father. But it’s not the only song performed in this language (The Intro track has a bit of Urdu performed throughout the record). And the fact that ZaynÂ placed a 104-second Urdu love song into the middle of this predominately R&B album is something that I know his South Asian fans would really appreciate. This album is supposed to be a reflection of himself as well as a peek into his mind. And whats more accurate that a love song sang in a language that is so near and dear to his heart and heritage.
Fool For You
Itâs one of a few stripped down songs on this body of work, but itâs by far the best one. The song is nothing but a simple piano ballad with incredible vocal acrobatics. It tells the story of no longer wanting to resist love and finally giving in and surrendering. This is one of the few records where Zayn shows off his vocal capabilities. Something he hardly ever got to do during his time with One Direction.
This track win’s for the most infectious hook out of all the tracks on this LP. This song feels like a cruise down the high way during the sunset. “She wants somebody to love, to hold her / She wants somebody to love, in the right way.” But that’s far from my interpretation of the lyrics. Upon further inspection, It seems as if this record is his first hand account of dealing with a very clingy lover, but he makes it sound somewhat pleasant.Â “She’s crying out that she loves me, Holding my hands so I won’t leave.” But that’s besides the point. There is a note that he hits at the 2:20 mark that is life changing. It’s hands down the best part of this track.
At the end of the day, Mind Of Mine is a solid debut album. It’s a complete 180 from everything we’ve ever associated him with over the last five years. For one it’s R&B and not Alternative Pop & Dad Rock (sorry, One Direction). And most importantly it feels like a true representation of Zayn and that’s what makes the album good. Its safe to say that Zayn has definitely madeÂ his markÂ in the alternative R&B world. He was able toÂ still be edgy and “fierce”, but had no trouble inÂ providing the fans with aÂ few radio friendly bops here and there.Â Mind of Mine is mature and all of the songs are relatable, gender neutral and unique and they have substance! There is essentially a song for everyone and for every mood.Â History has proven thatÂ that it’s usually the first person to leave a massive pop group who goes on to have the most successful career (i.e. Queen Bey, Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake). But that’s not the only important factor that makes this album great, it’s the fact that he really did take a year to live his life, work on his craft, and mold this album into exactly what he wanted it to be.