[image courtesy of officialcharts.com]
By: Liam McGurl @Liiiammm1996
After the release of Zayn Malik’s “Pillowtalk,” Directioners were split between their long-time-favorite boy band and its bad boy breakaway—with some taking a middle road. Now, it’s looking like Malik will hold a fan base all his own after releasing two more successful singles off his upcoming album.
The 23-year-old singer’s first solos prior to his new album Mind of Mine teased the record with three contrasting sounds. It was a move full of marketing genius and, surprisingly, impressive artistry. He’s proven his diversity, a likely incentive behind his split from One Direction’s all-too-consistent sound.
At this point, virtually anyone who owns a radio has heard “Pillowtalk”—and rightfully so. It is a major success, especially considering it’s Malik’s first promotional solo single—featuring psychedelic visual support to catchy choruses in its accompanying music video.
“It’s You,” officially written as “iT’s YoU,” making grammar fanatics cringe and conjuring roaring applause from music-lovers, gives a sound more distant from “Pillowtalk” than Malik’s relationship with 1D. The ballad, possibly inspired by Little Mix’ Perrie Edwards, has an undeniably mature sound and message. The track and its Apple Music video— both released on Feb. 26—are all about heartbreak and mistrust. While heartbreak anthems are nothing new to the music industry—the lyrics lining “It’s You” serve a presumably all-too-real look at the Bradford, England, native’s specific relationship experience. It’s honest, down-to-Earth and spares us another cheesy tune—who can complain?
While “Pillowtalk” relied on catchy choruses, “It’s You” is grounded almost entirely in the single’s sentiment of self-conflict inside a failing relationship. Singing, “I won’t, I won’t, I won’t/ Cover my scars/ I’ll let ’em bleed/ So my silence/ So my silence won’t/ Be mistaken for peace,” Malik shelves his badass reputation momentarily, letting us into his unvarnished emotional experiences.
The last album teaser, “Like I Would,” remains the least impactful release thus far—fluctuating between lethargic lulls and a funky chorus packed full of potential. The track, released on March 10, opens with the words, “Hey what’s up, it’s been a while,” starting off on an Adele-esque note, both in lyricism and pace. Well, that is until the buoyant chorus’ introduction, commenced with Malik shrieking, “He, won’t touch you like I do.” It feels remarkably inconsistent compared to its preceding singles, a sure death sentence for any solo track.
In all honesty, Directioners’ reactions to the single seem to be more memorable than the actual effort behind “Like I Would.” Shortly after the song’s reveal, 1D fans took to Twitter, accusing Malik’s track of appropriating the boyband’s 2012 hit “I Would.” Regardless, Malik’s made it brilliantly clear where he stands on the group’s “generic as f*ck” sound and, so, it’s safe to say he isn’t stressing over the criticism.
Following the release of his album, Malik has established his aesthetic as a solo artist and solidified his newfound, independent reputation.