Without delving too much into the past, it was evident that there was always something fascinating and compelling about Zayn Malik. He was indifferent when it came to his days in the juggernaut tour-de-force that was One Direction but his allure was quite clear.
Fast forward to today… Think of everything you THINK you know of Zayn Malik. Now erase that from your mind because Zayn Malik has shed his last name and has been reborn as ZAYN.
The transition could have easily been a disastrous one but with his first single, PILLOWTALK, the track skyrocketed to number 1 both in the U.S. and U.K. and the world started to take him more seriously as he stepped further away from the boy-band that molded him into something he truly wasn’t. Knowing he had to prove not only to himself but his music as well would be difficult but the outcome has been a more ambitious and grown up album that deals with brazen sexuality, love/infatuation, being young, wild and free.
Mind of Me is a straight up R&B album with ZAYN being the love child we didn’t know we needed of Frank Ocean and the Weeknd, with a bit of Miguel. His falsetto’s are paired over dark beats and hazy lyrics about pleasure and heartache over weed-filled 4am trysts.
The track BeFoUr is lush with ethereal synths and a mesmerizing beat over his voice that is smooth like butter.
Tracks sHe and dRuNk are standouts thanks to their mid-tempo beats and show the ups and downs of love, sHe is more distant with lyrics like “she wants somebody to love, to hold her” while the dRuNk is more on the emotional side, getting a glimpse behind the cool-guy exterior with lyrics like “red eyes, amnesia, I need ya, right now I’m emotionaaaaal… I lose control when I’m with you, I hope I haven’t said too much.”
Another standout track is the lovely but brief INTERMISSION: fLoWeR, which is sung in Urdu in recognition of Malik’s Pakistani heritage.
Singer Kehlani is the only artists that is featured on the album, her melodic voice on the hazily seductive and lustful on wRoNg. fOoL fOr YoU is a surprising power ballad that features a John Lennon-inspired piano-lead that is the perfect showcase for ZAYN’s strong voice.
BoRdErZ is falsetto filled chorus on this R&B JAM.
lUcOzAdE (named after the British sport and energy drink) is one of the more loose tracks, it’s a catchy synth-filled track that makes you want to dance along. TiO is completely reminiscent of Justin Timberlake but better, it’s catchy and sexy as hell and seems like the more R&B and sexually brazen version of Wonderful Tonight.
The lasting impression of Mind of Mine is of someone who finally is making the music that they’ve wanted to make for a long time. He seems more confident not only in himself but his voice (which is the equivalent of velvet.. It’s rich and absolutely lush) because he’s finally showcasing and has created the music that HE’s wanted to do and is no longer creatively stifled. ZAYN may still have to prove himself as a credible artist, away from his past, but he’s definitely going in the right direction now.