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Befour, (stylized as BeFoUr), is a song of the English singer-songwriter Zayn Malik's debut solo album, Mind of MineIt is the fourth track of the album.

Lyrically, "Befour" addresses both his past and his detractors at the same time,[1] including his past as a working class teenager in Bradford (which the music video is based on),[2] his former band,[3] and the scrutiny of his detractors.[4]

The song talks about the story of a man who has finally broken out on his own, and also addresses critics of his career with his former band One Direction and how he felt frustrated and suffocated during the time he was with the band.

Background

Befour" was released on March 17, 2016, as the second promotional single.[5] According to James Ho, "Befour" was conceived when he and Malik were in the VIP area of a Las Vegas club where Big Sean was performing in August 2015, and Malik said, "It's crazy being here in Vegas. I’ve literally been all over the world with One Direction. I’ve done this before, but not like this. Not by myself, not this way, not here with the intention of working on my own music".[6] The track was also previously used as background music for Zayn Malik's The Fader Cover Star video in November 2015.[7][8]

The song received acclaim from music critics who praised the song's lyrics, his falsetto and called it one of the album's best tracks. The music video for the song was released on 25 March 2016, and it focus on youth culture, splitting scenes between Malik hanging in a car or restaurant with friends to images of young people boxing, drinking, dancing and getting haircuts.

Lyrics

I've done this before
Not like this

I don't drink to get drunk
I feel all the right funk
If there's something I want
I'll take all the right wrongs
Now, I'm gonna stay in my zone
I'm tired of picking that bone
And I can't be bothered to fight it no more, no

Now I'm on a roof
Set it on fire
Just to give me proof
I'm living on a wire
Now I'm on a roof
Set it on fire
Just to give me proof
I'm living on a wire

So say what you wanna say, what you wanna
So say what you wanna say, what you gotta say, now
So say what you wanna say, what you want
Shame is you won't say that to my face

I've done this before
Not like this, not like this

Time for me to move up
So many hours have gone
Heart beats the pump of my blood
No strings for you to pull on
You've got your tongue in your cheek
So pardon if I don't speak
Can't tune my chords into your songs, no

Now I'm on a roof
Set it on fire
Just to give me proof
I'm living on a wire

So say what you wanna say, what you wanna
So say what you wanna say, what you gotta say, now
So say what you wanna say, what you want
Shame is you won't say that to my face

I've done this before
Not like this, not like this

Flashing lights
So say what you wanna say, what you wanna
So say what you wanna say, what you gotta say, now
So say what you wanna say, what you want
Shame is you won't say that to my face
So say what you wanna say, what you wanna
So say what you wanna say, what you gotta say, now
So say what you wanna say, what you want
Shame is you won't say that to my face

I've done this before
Not like this, not like this
I've done this before
Not like this, not like this

Music Video

The music video for "Befour" was released on March 25, 2016.[9] The video was shot in Manchester's Miles Plattingdistrict, and dramatises what Malik's working class teenage life was like in Northern England, including scenes at a boxing club (Malik used to do boxing before his music career), restaurant/pool hall, barber shop, parking lot, and fish and chips shop.[10]

Music Video Information
ZAYN - BeFoUr

ZAYN - BeFoUr

full

Released March 25, 2016
Length 3:25
Director Ryan Hope
Production Co
Choreographer
Filmed
Location Manchester's Miles Plattingdistrict
VEVO views 46,652,821 (as of March 31, 2018)

Fader Interview

Zayn Malik - FADER Cover Star

Zayn Malik - FADER Cover Star

Commercial Performance

It was listed as one of the best songs of the week by Entertainment WeeklyNPR, and Rolling Stone. It debuted at number 85 on the UK Singles Chart and number 16 on the UK R&B Chart. It reached number 28 on the UK TV Airplay Chart. As of August 2016, the music video has received more than 32 million views on YouTube.

Reception

"Befour" was described by Rolling Stone as "smooth R&B" and NME described it as an "R&B ballad". Music Times said it combines R&B, synthpop, and soul, and AXS said it uses "tribal percussion and ringing synths". AXS calls it an "experimental and assertive slice of R&B" with "personal lyrics addressing his past and detractors all at once." New Statesman says it is "tightly-constructed and slickly-produced" and includes one of Malik's vocal hallmarks, a "long and impossibly high note." Billboard states that "Zayn channels his inner Justin Timberlake" with the song.

References