As March 25th was previously declared as a day of doom for One Direction fans to mark the 2015 departure date of 5th member Zayn Malik, it’s now a day of new beginnings, as Zayn dropped his debut solo album, titled, “Mind of Mine”, on the one-year anniversary of his leave.
The only thing that’s difficult to understand is why he titled his tracks so visually unappealing (BoRdErSz, IUcOzAdE, for example), but that’s a pretty good sign if that’s the only major negative of the album. He’s ditching the boyband bubblegum pop roots for a sexy, brooding, dark romance approach that makes you feel like you’re riding in a fancy car into a bustling city on a Friday night, fully decked out in your best clothes while firmly grasping your lover’s hand in the seat adjacent from you. Personal favorites had to be “BeFoUr”, “PILLOWTALK”, and “LIKE I WOULD”, simply because they were the most upbeat, but Zayn’s voice shines just as well on the slower ballads too, such as “fOoL fOr YoU” and “BRIGHT”. The 60-second intro to the album was a nice touch, to prepare the listener for the next 17 songs of high notes and sweet, smooth vocals. The most interesting touch was “INTERMISSION: fLoWer”, a Urdu-language song inspired by the native language of his father. Having never listened to Urdu before, it was certainly a peaceful experience and nice surprise, something that his Muslim fans can certainly appreciate and look up to him for.
When you think about it, it’s actually quite impressive that Zayn managed to entirely switch directions (no pun intended), write and record a full length album, do sufficient promo for said album, and then release it in exactly 365 days. Then again, it’s not like this Bradford boy is a stranger to hard work. The result, though quickly produced, does not seem rushed, because it showcases the kind of music that Zayn was not only born to create, but to sing. Although it is strange to hear him cussing and crooning about love scenarios that aren’t family-friendly, he’s definitely in his element. All the nay-sayers who still criticize him for leaving 1D need to give it a rest. It’s obvious that this is the kind of music Zayn always wanted to make, and you have to feel for him for sticking with the band for an entire 5 years knowing what we do now (remembering how many times he had to fake a smile and sing “What Makes You Beautiful”makes me sad for him). It took a lot of courage to leave his comfort zone, but it was definitely the right choice for him. Besides, 1D is doing just fine on their own, since they still have four other amazing singers. It’s a win-win situation, really.
It’s no surprise that “Mind Of Mine” is a solid first album because newsflash, he’s got a killer, easily distinguishable voice, and he’s very creative. However, the only undetermined element left to his new status as a solo artist is his stage presence. Time will tell how he decides to carry a show on his own, since a tour will no doubt be in the near future. Although, one thing is certain, the one direction Zayn Malik will be going is up the charts.