Zayn is a household name to anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock. He spent the last four years in the mega hit band One Direction until he broke a lot of people hearts last year when he decided to head off on his own.
While Zayn was known as the heartthrob alighting women and men with his so called ‘mysterious’ image, no one truly knew who he was as an artist. He was quiet, reserved, and hit some pretty amazing high notes in hits like “Best Song Ever” and “You and I” but now he’s completely breaking free of his pop/rock roots with his newest solo album Mind of Mine.
It hasn’t been an easy split according to Zayn himself, taking almost every opportunity to throw his former bandmates under the bus but was it worth it? So far yes. He has the number one spot on iTunes album charts around the world, and is predicted to land the number 1 album in the UK this week, but does the album achieve everything the anticipation expected? Partly.
Zayn’s album is a mixed bag of downtempo R&B numbers about love, sex, and everything in between, and slow burning dance numbers that can be easily heard in the club, but the album lacks true depth. Zayn fans will love it but too many people outside the Directioner fandom will find the album bland. Not to say the whole album is boring, he does have quite a few stand out songs that save it.
Zayn has a knack for turning even a love song into something sexy which is an advantage since most of the album is about sex. Which feels like a complete 180 to shed his wholesome boyband image. Songs like “She”, “Take It Off (TIO)”, and “Like I Would” are bound to be dance club favorites or even radio favorites. They have a fun, young sound that could make anyone want to sing along. Any of these songs would have been a better choice than “Pillowtalk” for a first single. Yes, it was a hit but it doesn’t do his voice, lyrical ability, or sound any justice.
His slower songs give more of a push to the album. His voice is gorgeous and sultry on songs like “It’s You” and “Fool For You”, showing that lyrically, less is more. Also, showing how much he’s developed vocally (but with some problems with dictation). While songs like “Blue” and “Wrong” featuring Kehlani sound so similar to other songs on the album, that they get lost.
Then you have other songs that will surely get tongues wagging over who they are about. “Truth” is seemingly about his ex-bandmates with the lyrics, “this ain’t my scene, this wasn’t my dream, it was all yours”. Then you have “She Don’t Love Me” which is also rumoured to be about his ex-fiancee Perrie Edwards of Little Mix and his possible ‘cheating’ ways.
Both songs have an interesting flow but are not highlights of the album, except for the drama behind them, which many people will run with. Either could easily be a single though and go through the roof, but would that be for integrity of the songs or just because of the tabloid fodder?
Zayn is still finding his footing as a solo artist and that will take time. He has learned a lot from his years with One Direction but still needs to learn how to blend who he was and who he is now. A lot of the album felt like he was trying too hard to shed his boyband image, that he lost opportunities to make this album great. It will surely be a favourite among pre-established fans but the question that begs to be answered is will he reach a broader audience or fade like ex-boybanders of the past?
Zayn’s Mind Of Mine is out now via RCA Records, purchase it on iTunes here.
Words by Lauren Glennon