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Zayn debuts a new voice

9.5

Zayn Malik’s release of his first solo album “Mind of Mine” not only uncovers a completely different style of contemporary R&B and lyrical madness but also invites listeners to explore the depths of his thoughts.

Since his departure from One Direction in 2015, Zayn has taken a separate route to discover himself and make music that reflects on his career decisions. “Mind of Mine” succeeds in conveying his journey of heartache from leaving the band and splitting up with an old flame to discovering a new budding romance.

The power of the lyrics in every track is concentrated towards expressing Zayn’s new independent outlook as a soloist. Each piece contains significant statements that hold a deeper meaning behind his sudden transition from a boy band member to a charged R&B vocalist. The lyrics suggest the beauty of maturity and the process of moving on in life as he evolves into a individual who respects originality. Though the content in most of Zayn’s songs features explicit material, the entrancing melody and catchy beat manage to produce an inexplicably calming effect.

“MiNd Of MiNdd,” the album’s introductory track, encourages listeners with the repeated lyrics “Open up and see what’s inside of my mind.” The song begins with a slow tune as Zayn smoothly integrates the leisurely pace of his voice with the steady beats of instrumentals. With such a simple yet abstractly expressive start, “MiNd of MiNdd” radiates a mesmerizing feel and introduces the mood for the rest of the album.

Following the introduction is Zayn’s debut single “PILLOWTALK,” which experiments with the artist’s more sensual side. Contrasting heavily with the first track’s comfortable speed and tune, “PILLOWTALK” dramatically picks up the pace by including an underlying bass beat and an impressive range of vocalizations. However, the entrancing undertone is still present in the deep percussion reverberations underneath the vibrant texture of the vocals.  

The slow tempo is reintroduced in “iT’s YoU,” a song that defines the raw emotional state of a heartbreak. Perhaps the most sentimental track in the entire album, it emphasizes Zayn’s weakness and fragility after staying in a complicated relationship that took its toll on him. Once again featuring the simplistic elements found in “MiNd Of MiNdd,” this single isolates the vocals by limiting instrumentals and prioritizing the lyrics instead to communicate a dynamic statement. Despite the profoundly impactful meaning that lies beneath the lyrics, this track is possibly the most relaxing because of its pure authenticity in both message and melody.

Throughout the album, it’s clear that “Mind of Mine” is purposely aimed towards expressing a complex, heartfelt message rather than showcasing an instrumental production. Zayn’s first attempt as a soloist demonstrates his rebellious attitude as well as his sensitive side, revealing two contrasting parts of his personality that even long-time fans will be surprised to discover. Whether it be curiosity inspiring you to venture into Zayn’s state of mind or the stress of schoolwork prompting you to unwind with a chill album, “Mind of Mine” deserves a listen from those in the mood for a relaxing and meaningful experience.

Written by Jessica Huang, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of iTunes

The Breakdown


Sounds/Beats
10
Voice
10
Lyrics
9
Mood
9


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