Zayn Malik has gone solo, in a move akin to Robbie William departing Take That in the nineties he has willingly left the biggest boyband on the planet, One Direction. With a new direction (no pun intended) he has shed his former happy go lucky image and transformed into a more mature, edgy style and sound. While retaining his pop roots more elements of R&B are introduced in his debut solo album “Mind of Mine”.
After the albums instrumental introduction the smash hit “Pillowtalk” sets the scene and mood of what’s to come. With its slow tempo and electronic sounds the pop we know him for is replaced with R&B. The mature subject matter displays his growth as a person, with strong vocals on the chorus showing his range and skill as a vocalist.
“It’s You” slows the pace further with a sad tone and high notes. “Befour” with its constant drum beat provides a flowing, catchy song. “She” evokes an eighties vibe with its prevalent use of electronic keyboard and the pre-chorus crescendo. “Drunk” is another R&B tune with a repetitive structure, reminiscing on summer partying and good times. The second instrumental on the album “Flower” expresses Zayn’s Pakistani, Muslim background in an elegant manner.
“Rear View” introduces more electronic elements with its looping, evocative backing track throughout. “Wrong” introduces a duet, female vocals from Kehlani help to enhance the variety to the record. “Fool for you” adds more pop into the mix and a memorable ballad is the result. “Borderz” presents soft guitar in the second part of the song and “Truth” is the mellowest song on the album.
“Lucozade” has a lack of chorus, more structured like a rap song whereas “Tio” is the most sensual, intimate song. From the deluxe edition bonus tracks “Like I would” is the highlight, being the most memorable dance song and a single.
Zayn’s debut solo effort is a solid entry, while it may lack some variety it still provides a great pop album with strong R&B influences.