Album Review: ZAYN – Mind of Mine

Jonathan Fuchs, Copy Editor

[RCA; 2016]

Rating: 4/10

Key Tracks: “PILLOWTALK,” “wRoNg”

The day Zayn Malik left One Direction (AKA the day millions of tween girls all over the world sobbed like there was no tomorrow) was the day everyone remembered that the boy band wasn’t immortal. They, as many guessed years before, were inevitably going to fall harder than the Roman Empire.

And they weren’t wrong — with Malik’s departure into solo work eventually turning into One Direction’s hiatus and other members announcing solo projects as well. Obviously, the one thing on every tabloid in America’s mind this entire time is what Zayn has been up to ever since leaving. The announcement of a new album that supposedly had “ZAYN” going for a new sound and direction left people on the edge of their seats, counting down the days to when we get to hear new material.

With the release of his debut single “PILLOWTALK,” it was clear than ZAYN’s solo album Mind of Mine was going to be similar to Justin Bieber’s last record Purpose in terms of sound and quality, as well as artistic direction. While the production and melodies were new and rock-solid, the lyrics and ZAYN’s audible personality were mediocre at best, giving the track a hollow feel. The rest of Mind of Mine sticks to a similar formula — there isn’t really anything else to offer throughout its 45-minute runtime.

When one dismisses the stupid cover art and the fact that the song titles are spelled out like they were written on an eDgY MiDdLe sCHOOLEr’s BINder, Mind of Mine is incredibly bland. It’s an interesting attempt at a new look for ZAYN, but a good majority of the album is a swing and a miss, as it focuses on image over material.

The only song that could be considered memorable is the aforementioned “PILLOWTALK,” which has interesting melodies with solid production to match. While every song here has these same elements (especially on the album’s first half), their lack of uniqueness only makes the listener think how good these songs would’ve been if stars like Lorde or Rihanna sang on them instead.

The second half of Mind of Mine is a huge vulnerable spot to the album as a whole, as almost none of the tracks contain anything exciting and just continue an endless circle of repetition. There are a few songs like “rEaR vieW” and “wRoNg” that kind of stand out as being a little better than everything else, but they lack the catchiness needed to keep the listener coming back for more.

Mind of Mine could have been a game-changing pop record that brought ZAYN up to Bieber or Timberlake status. Instead, it has its head too far up its own ass to give him the “bad-boy” image it sets out to create. While it’s not too late for Malik to try harder on his next album, Mind of Mine is too egocentric and forgettable to be enjoyable.

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