On March 25 2016, singer Zayn Malik finally ended his year-long music hiatus which began with him leaving One Direction by releasing his debut solo album. The album “Mind of Mine” took over the world, quite literally. The album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and it was the first debut album in history to reach the top spot on the iTunes charts in more than 70 countries. He’s become a part of the exclusive club of artists who have had their music reach number 1 both as a member of a group and as a solo artist. Other artists include Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, and Gwen Stefani.
I absolutely love Malik’s album. It’s not the type of music I would usually listen to, but I’ve had it on repeat ever since it came out. The quality of the music is top-notch, each song is unique, and it’s perfect for jamming out in your car. I’m obviously biased in my opinion about this since I’ve been a fan of One Direction since 2012, two years after their formation on The X-Factor United Kingdom. While I don’t have their faces plastered all over my bedroom walls anymore, I still listen to their music every once in a while.
I’m surely not a professional music critic, but I would describe this album as soft rhythm & blues. If you’re into that, give this album a chance and give it a listen. If you have a burning hatred for One Direction and everything that has to do with them, still give it a listen. It doesn’t disappoint. Each song is unique and has a catchy beat – nearly every song on the album has the potential of being a successful single. He has such a talented voice, even just casual singing for him sounds smooth as butter and is flawless. Malik’s famous high note can be found in his own songs as well as One Direction’s previous albums. Malik continues to display his voice in different areas of the music scene by being featured with Usher on Chris Brown’s remix of his song “Back To Sleep.” He’s slowly but surely expanding his musical horizons.
To me, the part that stands out the most in the album is the intermission titled “Flower,” a song that’s sung in Urdu, his father’s native language. It’s a minute and 44 seconds of beautiful, soft vocals and a few stringed instruments, displaying his appreciation for his family roots and heritage. “Mind of Mine” has a variety of song types, transitioning from sweet & slow love ballads such as “fOoL fOr YoU” and “iT’s YoU” to upbeat jams about temptation & relationships such as “SHE DON’T LOVE ME” and “lUcOzAdE.”And yes, that’s really how the song titles are spelled.
It’s a far step out from the music he made with One Direction, but I’m happy about that. It’s more appealing and it’s more unique to him. In their beginning years, One Direction had to make music that appealed to a specific audience, which were pre-teen to teen girls. They’ve had more control over the music they made in their more recent albums, but Malik still wasn’t able to experiment with making different types of music. The type of lyrics included on “Mind of Mine” isn’t exactly made for that younger age group that One Direction appealed to years ago. It was a brave and tough decision to leave One Direction, especially since they were at the peak of their career and were continuing to earn major success. I still don’t know why Malik would decide to leave during the middle of a worldwide stadium tour. Honestly, I was a little bitter when he didn’t show up when I attended their M&T Bank Stadium show in Baltimore, even though it was already clearly established that he was gone months before. But now I respect his decision – it created an amazing album.