“Mind Of Mine” contradicts and confuses as listeners try to grasp concept


Kelly Wynne, Editor-In-Chief

I’ve never been a huge One Direction fan. The news that Zayn Malik left didn’t shake my world in any way. Though the music is catchy, it was never my go to. The sound I enjoy has a rough edge and a heavy beat, something I thought Malik might be able to capture under his own creative control. So, I decided to listen to “Mind Of Mine” by ZAYN, and all I can say is that this mind of mine has never been more confused.

The album starts with, “MiNd of MiNdd” (yes, apparently now two Ds sound like an E) a strong instrumental track with foggy vocals that listeners can assume is saying mind of mind at one point. I was just starting to get into the 57 second intro when it abruptly ended and jumped directly into top 10 single “PILLOWTALK.” The transition was uncomfortable and in no way comparable to a full-album song progression.

After this brief moment of confusion, I got back into the album. “iT’s YoU” isn’t my cup of tea, but I get why people like it. “BeFoUr,” rumored One Direction diss track, is easily one of the strongest on the album. It’s classic radio hit. Think a One Direction-type tune with a light R&B tone. It left me wondering how Malik got away with the excuse that he didn’t like the One Direction vibe.

“sHe” sounds like the type of song that should be played on repeat in Forever 21.  “dRuNk” was moody and cool until the chorus lyrics “we’ve been drunk all summer” sold this song as cliché and Malik as a first-time songwriter.

The next song, “INTERMISSION: fLoWer,” is what really sent my confusion over the edge. After a four consecutive radio hits, ZAYN went indie, miserably failing. The song, with a nice base of acoustics, is haunted by a wailing, ghostly tone, emitted by Malik. Frankly, it sounds like he’s dying.

We jump right into another radio sound. From there, the album is full of ups and downs. “BoRdErSz” is fantastic. It has instrumentals similar to that of a Glass Animals song. “tRuTh” takes a step down, sounding like a makeshift Soundcloud release by someone with a few hundred followers.

The album as a whole has an overtone of dark pop. In his good moments, ZAYN does it well. The moments that fell short were those in which he tried to experiment too far outside of his comfort zone. At the end of it all, I came to the conclusion that Malik wanted a sound just a step darker than that of One Direction. For the fans still hurting from his departure, it’s a shame due to the fact his new sounds could have easily fit the bill if One Direction expanded their horizons just a tad, something that is bound to happen in their artistic evolution anyway.

As for ZAYN going solo, I expect his better songs to be picked up and broadcast worldwide. Those that fell short will soon be forgotten. Maybe it was just first-album jitters. No matter the reason, fans can hope for a stronger, better-connected album the next time around. Maybe before then Malik will get a grammar tutor and ditch the bizarre song titles. I definitely don’t think it’s impossible.