Despite the wry timing that 23-year-old Zayn Malik released his solo debut album exactly one year after he announced his departure from One Direction, Mind of Mine is a well-made R&B album that’s not in-your-face obnoxious at all.
With Frank Ocean’s Grammy-winning producer Malay on board, the album is a collection of downbeat, low-lit songs intent on showing that Malik is all grown up now. The success of his steamy, The Weeknd-esque single Pillowtalk, which debuted at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, is indication that Zayn’s new music is going down well with fans. It’s pretty obvious that he’s loving the experience of finally getting to make the music that he really loves. “I got caught up in this game,” he sings in the soulful Truth of his 1D days. In other songs like Befour and Like I Would, there’s teasing references to his old band’s music. He also gets in touch with his Pakistani routes in Flower, a short piece sung in Urdu.
While the album lacks variety, hitting a low point with the dispirited Wrong, Malik’s vocals remain charming, his falsetto singing shining the brightest in the It’s You. The clipped beats of She are infectious and the hazy Drunk is the perfect song to listen to when you can’t sleep at night.
Contains strong language