ZAYN. Here he is, holding nothing back with his first solo album, Mind of Mine. Full of innuendos and a sensual mellowness, this is not the shy band boy so many of us fell in love with. Thinking of ZAYN strictly as an artist, this is a great way to look at the kind of musician he wants to be.
However, it almost cannot be helped comparing him back to his One Direction days. Some songs even feel like the “adult version” of familiar 1D tracks (“Like I Would,” “fOol fOr YoU”), but the two artists are also different enough that you wonder where that epic falsetto went. In this regard, I’m a little disappointed by Mind of Mine, feeling that it doesn’t showcase the full range and talent of ZAYN’s voice. But definitely after a few listens these songs have grown on me in their own unique way.
Highlights on the album include “TiO,” which is repetitive lyrically but addictive musically, as well as the previously released single, “BeFoUr,” and “wRoNg.” “BeFoUr” seems to give some clue to ZAYN’s life and his thoughts over the past year. It’s perhaps the closest you’ll ever get to answers if you’re a 1D fan, especially if the title is any indication. “wRoNg” is an all-around genuine track, with catchy and easy musicality. It is also an excellent execution of a duet, featuring Kehlani.
ZAYN has set himself apart exclusively with his intermission “fLoWer,” which has him singing in Urdu. If you weren’t a fan of him before, after this soulful treat anyone could be turned–or at least intrigued–by this “new” artist.
Many of the lyrics are rather shallow; “Like I Would” even admits it’s cold hearted to just hit someone up after lighting up and getting drunk. But do these lyrics fit in with the trends of today’s music? Absolutely. They also give a clearer picture of the brooding mystery that is ZAYN. Paired with fantastic beats, these songs are almost everything fans could ask for. If nothing else, they make the perfect guilty pleasure playlist. Fan or not, give Mind of Mine a listen for a different sound that still has that familiar Top 40 lyrical feel.