nobody is listening

Should you listen to Zayn’s new album, “Nobody is Listening?”

Zayn's new album, "Nobody is Listening," released on Friday, Jan. 15, uncovers the vulnerability present in society.

Zayn’s new album, “Nobody is Listening,” released on Friday, Jan. 15, uncovers the vulnerability present in society.

Zayn’s new album,“Nobody is Listening,” tells a much needed story during dark times. The vulnerable album is full of the trademark Zayn attitude. However, it projects a sense of vulnerability not seen in his other albums. 

The album has eleven tracks and two music videos, starting with “Calamity,” which is a spoken word song that introduces the album in a poetic way. The lyrics are spoken instead of sung like the rest of the album and his previous albums.  The second and fourth track “Vibez” and “Better” were released in advance with their accompanying music videos. Out of the two, “Vibez” is my favorite because it instantly put me in a good mood.  The tune of the song is very catchy and uplighting. “You know the vibez, know the vibez ” the track echoes. I can definitely see many TikTok videos being made with “Vibez” in the background. Syd is featured on the fifth track, “When Love’s Around,” which bears a strong similarity to Drake’s “One Dance” featuring Wiz Khalifa. I was not a fan of Syd’s part, it felt forced and out of place, On track nine, “Windowsill” features Devlin, it has a catchy sound, specifically the marimba and other percussion instruments that reminds me of his past albums “Icarus Falls” and “Mind of Mine.”The song “Sweat” is definitely in my favorites and is similar to his song “TIO” from his pop album that came out in 2016, “Mind of Mine.” Towards the end is my absolute favorite song in this album, “Tightrope.” Tightrope is a gorgeous blend of Zayn’s signature R&B sound combined with beautiful verses in Urdu, his native language.  Personally, I enjoyed multiple songs in the album such as “Sweat”, “Connexion” and “Tightrope”. This unique mixture is something that can only be found in Zayn’s music. 

Throughout 2020 to currently, an album similar to this has not been released by anyone. This album is unmatched with its lyricism and the craft of storytelling. The past year has been vacant with major storytelling albums that include the same charm that Zayn’s new masterpiece has. The production of the album is unmatched. Working with producers Scribz Riley and Roget Chahayed, “Nobody is Listening” delivers a deep sound with a seductive hint. “Connexion” is an example of this sultry sound that features an acoustic guitar. Overall, Zayn’s third solo album is by far the most raw and unique. The lyrics truly show exactly what he is feeling. This is easily seen in his spoken word rap, “Calamity” and the track “Unf**kwittable.” I would recommend giving “Calamity” a listen to really understand the depth of the album. It is a great opening for the album and sets the tone well. Even in his prior albums the first track always sets the tone. 

Zayn Malik weaves the tale of a modern love story through an honest lens. For example, from the track “Tightrope”, Zayns sings “Why’s it gotta feel like I’m walking a tightrope, why do you wanna see how far I fall”. These lyrics elude a portion of the love story in today’s era of normalized toxic relationships. Overall, the album is unique and rich with musical flavor. There have been no clear fan favorites yet, and not a single song is on Billboard’s Top 100 songs. I do not expect it to be winning any major awards. Zayn’s label mentioned that this album would be “the music he’d always wanted to put out.” This contributes to how emotional and unapologetic the tracks are.  Personally, I enjoyed multiple songs in the album such as “Sweat”, “Connexion” and “Tightrope”. Tearing away from the boy band image is no easy task, however, Zayn Malik seems to have successfully done so with his public image and seductive tunes and lyrics. To be frank, there are only three songs in the album that I will be adding to my music rotation. Tracks like “River Road”, gave me nothing. The song felt too similar to any generic pop songs. They were missing the signature Zayn sound that I look for in his music. All in all, I’d recommend giving this album a listen because there are some true gems in “Nobody is Listening”, and I’d assure Zayn that yes, plenty of people are in fact listening.

By Sofia Majeed, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Pitchfork