Zayn Going Solo

Zayn Malik’s first solo album, Mind of Mine, was released on Friday, March 25 – exactly one year after his departure from the pop boy band, One Direction (which is claimed by Malik to have been entirely coincidental).

I took to the hallways to see what the students of SHU had to say about Malik's new venture. Some students at Sacred Heart University spoke of him and his debut album with subpar comments such as “it’s meh,” and “since he left there was really only One Direction for his career to go.” However despite their comments, Malik’s post-departure success is anything but average.

In February, Malik’s first single as a solo artist, “PILLOWTALK,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and Mind of Mine is currently listed as the No. 1 Top Album on iTunes.

The album is entirely different than anything Malik had done during his time with One Direction. “I like it a lot and I’m happy he went independent from One Direction. His songs appeal to older people,” said sophomore Lauren Schaefer.

In an interview with Fader last year, Malik spoke of the musical differences between him and the music released by One Direction.

“There was never any room for me to experiment creatively in the band. If I would sing a hook or a verse slightly R&B, or slightly myself, it would always be recorded 50 times until there was a straight version that was pop, generic as f***, so they could use that version. Whenever I would suggest something, it was like it didn’t fit us. There was just a general conception that the management already had of what they want for the band, and I just wasn’t convinced with what we were selling. I wasn’t 100 percent behind the music. It wasn’t me. It was music that was already given to us, and we were told this is what is going to sell to these people. As much as we were the biggest, most famous boy band in the world, it felt weird. We were told to be happy about something that we weren’t happy about.”

The album has an overall R&B vibe, but according to Malik, each song is a different genre and he doesn’t really know how to define his musical style yet. Additionally, Malik’s heritage and cultural background is highlighted throughout the album. The song, “INTERMISSION: fLoWer,” is sung in Urdu – his father’s native language.

The album is also significantly sexually driven and was marked as explicit; certainly showing that he’s matured from his previous image from One Direction.

One particular aspect of the album that has captured attention is the title stylization.

“The album’s great. I just don’t understand why some letters in the song titles are randomly capitalized and others are not. I want an answer to that,” said sophomore Molly Cristofoletti.

Mind of Mine received mainly positive reviews from both critics and listeners across the world. On Twitter, Malik thanked his fans, who are referred to as “zquad,” for the amount of support they’ve been showing him for both his album and his solo career.

The album may have just been released, but Malik is already ready to make some more music. In a Periscope session with his fans, Malik said “I gotta go, I gotta go to the studio…I gotta get working on the second album.”

Until then, Mind of Mine can be purchased on iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/mind-of-mine-deluxe-edition/id1087172327