Review: Mind of Mine by Zayn Malik

Mind of Mine by Zayn MalikHalfway through Mind of Mine, the debut album from erstwhile One Direction member Zayn Malik, you understand why he had to leave and do things his way. The boy band’s albums are filled with solid pop, aping the rock tunes the British loved back in the 1970s; yet that definitely feels like a template, and you can see why he might be stifled by that. Mind of Mine is Zayn unfurling his wings and flapping around a bit, feeling comfortable. Filled with the slinky, minimal R&B making waves in the pop world today, it feels unforced, just right – especially the first half of the record, where we’re all still paying attention to what exactly he can do. Problem is, Mind of Mine is really just Zayn jumping from one (strictly-enforced) template to another (albeit one that doesn’t choke as much). By the second half, you’ve really heard all of the tricks and the energy flags down a bit. But, sure, his intentions – to reinvent himself; to step away from One Direction’s shadow; to adult, as the kids say – are fulfilled. Now, to see if he can really flap his wings and change things up next time. [NB]3/5


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