Everyone has eyes on Zayn Malik, with his many-a-label of “Former One Direction member”, “Once-engaged-to-a-Perrie-Edwards”, “Terribly tattooed”, “Ethnic” and occasionally, “Weed-smoking-trainwreck-because-he-changed-his-hair-colour”. It is exactly a year since he bade a goodbye to One Direction, and has made a successful attempt at creating a separate image for himself which all of his devoted fangirls (and boys and other genders) wanted, deep down in their hearts. I, amongst them, was tired of One Direction’s squeaky clean, cardigan and chino wearing, heteronormative lyric singing scheme. Zayn has now fit into a falsetto-crooning, profanity-speaking, not-a-bad-boy-but-a-bad-man frame, with his debut album giving off ichors of The Weeknd, Miguel and Justin Timberlake, but he’s doing a good job. It is as if he wanted to do this ever since One Direction skyrocketed as a teen girl fantasy-catering boyband, and he has confirmed it on numerous events. We all looked at Harry Styles as a solo breakout, but we knew Zayn was the black sheep.
One listen to the album might make the naysayers pass it off as a typical alternative R&B album common to this decade. Yes, the production is slick, with Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE producer Malay, and a fresh batch of Levi Lennox, MYKL and XYZ. Fair warning, the lyrics are clichéd and mediocre, with the usual tropes of pleasure-seeking, sex, reminiscence, heartbreak, sad girls and the likes. Lucozade, TiO, Wrong (featuring Kehlani, another rising R&B star) sound like catchy The Weeknd demos. And yes, there are album fillers. The Deluxe Edition tracks are a skip, except Like I Would, which is an absolute chart-blazing, fun track. Inspite of these slight setbacks, Zayn saves the album with his vocals. Since One Direction, Zayn has cemented frothy pop songs with his impressive vocal range. Examples of his vocal prowess are Pillow Talk, It’s You and Intermission: Flower, where he’s singing Qawaali, very much fulfilling his ardent fans’ desires. BeFour is breezy and Miguel-influenced. Everybody loves Miguel. On a personal note, I felt that the beat of BeFour is a sped up version of BANKS’ Warm Water [listen here], but that’s just me. She sounds like something that belongs to a Majestic Casual compilation, and its quick transition into Drunk is balmy. The album on the whole is a mellow but pleasant roller coaster of ups and downs, where one can either roll eyes at him trying too hard or nod heads at him for sincerely trying.
Zayn Malik has managed to put up a great display after a slightly rickety year on his personal front, and with a tour coming up soon, he is literally and figuratively going places. A must-buy for devoted fangirls and alternative R&B fans, if you can take bland lyrics for a talented vocalist.
I rate it 7.5/10. Don’t ask me how. The stand-out tracks are PillowTalk, She, BeFour and Like I Would.
Powered by Facebook Comments