I don’t remember where I was when Justin Timberlake pulled a Justin Timberlake on us but I do remember where I was when Zayn Malik pulled a Justin Timberlake on us.
It was spring semester of my freshman year. I had just left my 11 o’clock class and something told me to check Facebook. After five minutes of scrolling through stupid memes and updates from people I barely spoke to in high school, I saw it. I had to read it twice and I thought it was a really bad April Fools joke (It wasn’t. It was actually March 25th).
“After five incredible years, Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction.”
What I felt in that moment could be compared to the previously unknown meme of Mr. Krabs at the pretty patty stand where everything is all blurry. Being a huge One Direction fan for a solid 4 and a half years, it obviously came as a shock. I, and pretty much everyone else on the planet, was certain that Harry Styles would be the breakout star of the group but you know what they say about the quiet ones. It stung for a little but once I remembered that not a single track Zayn wrote while he was in the band made it on to any of the albums and management made him shave his beard, I figured this that move was inevitable.
After a good 10 minutes of shock, I figured that it might end up being good for Zayn. I was right. I don’t wanna spoil the whole album for you guys so feel free to read my thoughts on my absolute favorite tracks down below.
1) MiNd Of MiNdd (Intro)
– The title of this song is a not so subtle reference to the title of the album. During the 57 second introduction, Zayn is literally telling us to take a trip inside his mind and see what he sees. The track, overall, produces a vibe that can’t be explained but it’s a good one nonetheless and by the time it’s over, you’ll be ready to follow Zayn in any direction. (see what I did there?)
– I had been on edge for months awaIting Zayn’s first post 1D solo endeavor and when I least expected it, it happened. Solo Zayn stans were blessed with a song AND a video with crazy visuals and an appearance from an angel who walks among men (also known as Gigi Hadid). The song is an angsty, passionate ballad that represents the final nail in the coffin of “boyband Zayn”. With lines like “so, we’ll piss off the neighbors” he proves that he can make music for the grown and sexy crowd and can make the transition from clean-cut, bubblegum pop star to a mature artist that can be taken seriously.
3) iT’s YoU
– This song is essentially a lullaby. Zayn’s immaculate high notes make you feel like you’re floating on a cloud as you fade into the best nap of your life. I can’t really
describe the feelings you feel as you listen to this song because its more of an individual experience open for interpretation so I’ll let you guys listen for yourselves.
4) INTERMISSION: fLoWer
– I’m a sucker a nice soft guitar. Combine this with Zayn singing in his native language of Urdu and it’s lit. I had no idea what he was saying, but it was still lit. I also thought that was a bold statement to make considering the way society feels, as a whole, about people of Muslim heritage. Zayn has always been open about his upbringing as a British-Pakistani Muslim and he’s finally able to show us all of who he is and he doesn’t give a shit if you like it or not. Rock on.
– In my opinion, this is the best song on the album. Straight heat. It also contains the only feature on the album from… Kehlani (I know what you guys are thinking, but we’ll save that discussion for another time). With a subtle build up and deep bass, you feel the emotion that Zayn intended. Like, you want to drive to your non-existent exes house and slash his tires for doing you wrong. Solid “volume all the way up with the windows down” quality.
Ok, so this may or may not be a bold statement but Zayn is what the industry needs right now. In a world where everything sounds EXACTLY the same and the radio plays the same 5 songs all day everyday (not to say that his songs don’t have any airplay quality because they do), his album brings us a gust of fresh air. It was smooth, angsty, mysterious, and reflective rather that repetitive, gimmicky, and downright cringe-worthy. And to top it all off, he recreated Lil Wayne’s iconic ‘Tha Carter III’ album cover art and for that, we salute you.